Click here to print page

CMI transitions to CMU

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) will officially become Caribbean Maritime University on World Maritime Day, September 28, at an official Charter Day ceremony to be held at the National Arena in Kingston.

This follows passage of relevant legislation in Parliament earlier this year to grant the institution university status allowing it to confer degrees, awards, certificates, diplomas, and other academic distinctions.

More than 5,000 people are expected to attend, including several regional heads of state and other officials from around the world. Among the attendees will be the university's first chancellor, His Royal Majesty King Drolor Bosso Adamtey I, king of one of the largest tribes in Ghana. And included in the Charter Day activities will be the installation of a president and a deputy president.

Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Tuesday, Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid said, with university status, the governance structure of the institution will change.

“There is a transition policy as enshrined in the (Caribbean Maritime University) Act, so we are moving from a board to a council and from an executive director to a president. The current board becomes the council and the existing executive director, unless otherwise so determined, will now become the first president of the new university,” he explained.

CMI, which was established in 1980 with 30 students, has grown significantly over the years. Enrolment increased from 300 students in 2007 to just under 5,000 in 2017.

Senator Reid, in hailing the growth as remarkable, noted that according university status is a natural step as the institution establishes itself as a leader in its class.

“I don't think we've had another tertiary institution that has grown as exponentially as CMI, but it's exciting for all of us. This is another layer of the growth prospects that we seek in Jamaica. We are making the connections with education, training and industry, and this is a massive part of our armoury in transforming the Jamaican education and economic landscape,” he pointed out.

The minister noted further that the granting of university status will, among other things, allow for the CMI to access global grant funding from various agencies and entities worldwide, which will enable the institution to better administer its functions and perform its role as a national economic driver through education, training and certification.

CMI continues to make a significant contribution to the Jamaican economy by bridging the employment gap, with approximately 85 per cent of CMI alumni being placed in jobs within six months of graduation.

The Palisadoes-based institution is the only international entity approved for maritime training in Jamaica, with 80 per cent of the teaching/support personnel and 50 per cent of the board of directors drawn from organisations within the industry.

The Charter Day ceremony will culiminate at approximately 10:00 pm with fireworks and a logo burn that will be visible across the capital city.

Meanwhile, the Government is looking at establishing a full campus of the CMU in the parish of St Thomas.

This was disclosed by Minister Reid at the Think Tank on Tuesday.

He said that the Government has particular interest in expanding the university into the parish to drive growth in tandem with the development of the St Thomas leg of the south coast highway.

Reid informed that the institution will have a presence in the proposed development for the Morant Bay town centre.

“In the new facility that we are building at the old Goodyear factory there is a space for the university in that new township operation, and we are considering providing further capacity to have a full campus out in St Thomas. We really want to drive development out there,” he said, noting that the current location at Palisadoes is inadequate to meet demands.

Reid added that there are also plans to expand the institution into other parts of the country.

“We need to have some capacity in the Clarendon area around Vernamfield, because it is maritime and logistics; so what we don't want is for (CMU) to only have a presence in Kingston and St Andrew,” he pointed out.

Executive director of the CMI, Dr Fritz Pinnock, commended the Government for having the foresight to include the institution in the development plans for St. Thomas.

“I see the development of the campus in the parish as a great move where we will be putting people in the centre of development, which is the most sustainable development that we can have,” he said.

He also hailed the development plan for the parish. “This is a new concept and a new model. I applaud it. The whole parish of St Thomas is poised for greater development. It has good natural resources; it is a green field, an area ripe for development, with open land space and good access to deep water,” he pointed out.

Dr Pinnock noted that Cow Bay in the parish has the deepest harbour in the island and the wider region. Cow Bay has a natural depth of 51 metres.

“You don't have to dredge. These are very good waters for development right along the coastline, so it's a natural fit. And with the highway infrastructure, it would take just about 15 minutes to get across, so we now have to think about how we can spread development,” he noted.