Jamaica re-elected to maritime council


Jamaica re-elected to maritime council

Senior staff reporter

Sunday, December 08, 2019

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In his address to the International Seabed Authority's (ISA) 25th commemorative ceremony at the Conference Centre in downtown Kingston in July, Prime Minister Andrew Holness urged support for Jamaica's bid for re-election to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Less than four months later, ISA members responded positively by re-electing Jamaica to serve on the council, at the 31st Session of the IMO's General Assembly, held at its London headquarters, on November 29.

Jamaica, which was returned for a second-successive term, will serve alongside The Bahamas as the two Caribbean countries on the IMO Council for the 2020-2021 biennium.

Minister of Transport and Mining, Robert Montague, who led the country's delegation to the Assembly, said that Jamaica's performance on the world stage with other maritime powers yielded the positive results.

“It is remarkable and indicative of the level of respect accorded to Jamaica, as a maritime State, that our peers have recognised our contribution and re-elected us to serve on this august body,” Montague said.

“Being a member of the IMO Council raises Jamaica's maritime profile, gives Jamaica a representative voice for all maritime regulatory issues, enabling us to represent our nation, our maritime industry and other Caribbean States which have similar economic profiles and maritime issues,” he added.

The minister, who was leading the delegation for the first time, following the successful bid by his predecessor at the ministry, Mike Henry, in 2017, said that Jamaica's re-election to Category C of the powerful IMO Council solidifies its place at the heart of the international maritime legislature.

Director general of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, Rear Admiral Peter Brady said that he was very happy with the outcome, and indicated that Category C gives a voice to small island developing states (SIDS) in maritime regulatory decision-making.

“We take this responsibility seriously, and try to participate in the work of the IMO to ensure that the interests and concerns of Jamaica, the Caribbean countries, and SIDS in general are adequately ventilated at this level,” he said.

Rear Admiral Brady, who was appointed as the special envoy to the 174-member IMO, was also central to the country's campaign for re-election.

Holness told the attendees, at the 25th anniversary commemorative ceremony for the Kingston-headquartered ISA in July, that recognising the importance of the seas and oceans to economic sustainability, Jamaica would remain actively engaged in ISA, as well as in other international fora where these matters are addressed.

“With our long history of involvement in maritime affairs, Jamaica remains committed to the development of the rules and standards in international shipping as well as the promotion of maritime development, particularly in the Caribbean region,” he stated.

“We are therefore seeking re-election to the council of the International Maritime Organisation for the period 2020/2021. Noting the ongoing rapid deterioration of the maritime environment, I call on all member states to use this opportunity of ISA's 25th anniversary to recommit to the preservation and equitable utilisation of maritime resources, and to ocean-based climate action,” he said.

A specialised agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security, and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted, and universally implemented.

The IMO Council is the governing body of the IMO, and performs almost all functions of the Assembly between biennial assembly sessions. It approves the work of the various committees, proposes the budget, appoints the Secretary General for the assembly's approval, and makes policy recommendations, including the IMO's strategic plan.

Category 'C' comprises 20 states that have special interest in maritime transport or navigation, whose election to the Council ensure the representation of all major geographic regions of the world.

Categories 'A' and 'B' are made up of 10 States each, with A representing States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services, and B consisting of States with the largest interest in seaborne trade.

Jamaica's membership in Category C enhances the country's capacity, and that of the region to contribute to major policy decisions, rule-making, and the development of standards. Jamaica has been a member of the IMO since 1976 and was first elected to the council in 2007.

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