Jamaica says shipping and maritime sectors strategic to socio-economic development

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 14, CMC – Jamaica says it intends developing industries in ship repair and maritime construction as it views the shipping and maritime sector as part of the strategy for socio-economic growth here.

 “This includes strengthening the country’s identity as a maritime country. We want to attract and develop a more diversified range of maritime activities through infrastructure development, capacity building, education and training and business expansion,”  Information Minister Sandrea Falconer told a five-day “Women in Maritime Affairs (WiMA)” conference that entered its second day on Tuesday.

She told the conference that Kingston is keen on developing industries in ship repair and maritime construction, which are being successfully operated in countries such as the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago.

She said there is also an expanded range of training opportunities available across the Caribbean.

“There is heightened awareness in the sector, fuelled by expanded training opportunities through institutions such as the Caribbean Maritime Institute. Today, many Caribbean states are deriving significant income and employment from non-traditional areas such as ship repair and construction, bunkering and international ship registration,” she said.

The Information Minister told delegates from the 15 Caribbean countries that the move to establish a WiMA for the Caribbean will change for the better, “the face, focus and future of the maritime industry in the Caribbean.

The conference is being held under the theme: ‘Maritime Women of the Caribbean…Achieving Regionally…Advancing Globally’ and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Mrs. Audrey Sewell, said the establishment of a ‘WiMA will play a major role in redefining the role of women in the development of that sector in the region.

Mrs. Sewell said the policies are aimed at changing the experience and perception of women and men in policy formation, planning and decision making.

“This conference to establish a women in maritime association in the Caribbean is a timely one. The maritime industry, unfortunately, is one of the areas viewed as a male-dominated area and in a strange way does a  dis-service to the many women who serve in the sector in the various capacities,” she said.

Mrs. Sewell said there are six  such associations in various regions, such as Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, in the Pacific Islands, in Western and Central Africa, Central Asia and East and Southern Africa.

She said the Caribbean, which has been lagging behind in terms of the formation of its association, will be joining an elite group of countries.

“The International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) decision to establish such an association in the Caribbean comes against the  background of Jamaica’s participation in the second  international conference on Maritime Women Global leadership, which was hosted by the  World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden, in 2014,” the Permanent Secretary said.