KINGSTON, Jamaica - A sum of $395 million has been added to the recurrent expenditure of Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) to support the institution’s expansion plans.
Making the disclosure, Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams said that the figure is contained in the Third Supplementary Estimates for the 2023/24 financial year, tabled in the House of Representatives recently by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke.
Williams was addressing the third staging of the university’s industry conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on September 28.
“The university has developed a new five-year stability, growth and innovation strategy to reposition the institution as a force, not just locally but regionally and globally. In that vein, using that strategy, the CMU has formed important partnerships with local, regional and international partners, including Carnival Cruise Line, the University of Guyana and key stakeholders in Antigua and Barbuda, and Belize,” she said.
The ninister noted, too, that industry partnerships are also being forged with LASCO Distributors, Appliance Traders Limited, Flash Motors, Seprod and Sandals Resorts International.
Williams further disclosed that a new organisational structure has been developed to bring the university in line with local and international best practices, noting that the new strategic push has the full support of the Ministry of Education and Youth and the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.
“The CMU, with its strengthened internal systems and outward-looking global approach, has established itself as the leading merchant shipping maritime university in Latin America and the Caribbean. This has been done through a complete systems overhaul that will make this institution the envy of not only the Caribbean but the world,” she said.
The minister pointed out that the CMU boasts the most cutting-edge engineering degrees and the only one of its kind in the Caribbean in megatronics, as well as industrial automation.
“The premium engineering programme, along with degrees in digital forensics as well as naval architecture, and marine surveying fits squarely and firmly within the Government’s push for greater focus on STEM or STEAM schools in Jamaica,” she noted.
Williams said the new strategic thrust has also strengthened the capacity of the university to meet the needs of industry through solution-driven applied research of the highest calibre.
“This is supported by the best laboratory. In partnership with German engineering giant Festo, the CMU boasts the only Festo-authorised training centre in the western hemisphere with seven fully equipped labs to include robotics and electrical vehicle training as well as research solutions,” the minister said.
“This is not by accident but a consequence of deliberate action, and indeed some important governance structural and strategic changes have been ongoing at the CMU over the last three years in the wake of a much-publicised Auditor General’s report,” she added.
Meanwhile, Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport Daryl Vaz, urged the CMU and the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) to forge collaborations with the Scientific Research Council (SRC), local universities, engineers, and software developers to combine their skills and creativity to create solutions for the sector.
“I challenge the innovators here to find solutions to the transportation of electric cars by ship. I am told that the maritime industry has [reported] several explosions of lithium batteries [in] these cars. The world needs an engineering solution, and why not a Jamaican-driven solution,” he said.
The CMU industry conference 2023, which is being held under the theme ‘Managing Risks in the Maritime Industry Through the Application of Engineering Solutions’, also coincides with World Maritime Day.
President of CMU Professor Andrew Spencer, said the theme spotlights the pivotal role that engineering plays in the complex realm of maritime risk management.