The brilliant and innovative philanthropist, Chuck Feeney, founder of Atlantic Philanthropies, said: “Imagine having the resources to build something that can dramatically alter the lives of people, communities, and even nations.”
This is our benchmark. The Caribbean is on a path to truly exploiting maritime as a pathway for growth and poverty alleviation. Although much remains to be done, governments and policy makers have ratified many essential maritime regulations and are instituting best practices, rules and international standards that address threats, including environmental.
Also important, is the need to increase the number of Caribbean nationals trained and ready to fill the almost 90,000 shortfall in mariners and officers globally. Cruise and cargo companies should see themselves as partners in this process and ensure that aspiring Caribbean workers are given the opportunity to work on these ships that use regional ports.
The USD3M FESTO Fact Center located at the Caribbean Maritime University in Jamaica is a multipurpose training and productivity center that offers training in advanced skills and specialization, application based training and certification. It is the first in the Caribbean and joins four other similar centers worldwide. The Center will be a major development and learning imperative for the region that increases its competitiveness in shipping and logistics. Other global maritime conventions, such as MARPOL, that establish maritime environmental and operational protocols, are also vital to the development of the sector.