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Doneique Smith


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CMU President, Professor Andrew Spencer shares a handshake with the Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Edmund Bartlett at the CMU Port Royal Lecture Series




Kingston, Jamaica – Over 200 people gathered on the Caribbean Maritime University’s Main Campus on Tuesday as it hosted its inaugural Port Royal Lecture Series under the theme, “The Blue Economy – Regeneration and Resilience.”

CMU President, Professor Andrew Spencer, set the stage for the lecture, highlighting that the Blue Economy is the overall contribution of the oceans to economies. The World Bank defines it as the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health”. As the seventh largest economy, it boasts an average of JM $1.3 trillion per.

Over 90% of the world’s trade is done by sea, and Jamaica having a relatively small land mass, relies heavily on the blue economy. Some benefits of the blue economy include job creation, food security, mitigating climate change, and shipping and trade, among other things. Therefore, it has to potential to increase the economic growth of the Caribbean and address issues such as unemployment, food shortages, poverty, climate change and renewable energy sources.

Professor Spencer spoke to the fact that the blue economy must be looked at from an empirical viewpoint, not just to pull the data that extracts value but also to look at data that helps us protect the marine space’s value. He also highlighted that this becomes crucial against the backdrop of Sustainable Development Goal 14 – concern and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

In his keynote address, Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Edmund Bartlett pointed out that greater moral responsibility to protect the fragile and gradually depleting ocean and marine systems that have become increasingly susceptible to artificial phenomena needs to be taken on by those who harness the sea and marine resources in their value chains.

Bartlett also stressed that tourism-related activities, for which Jamaica is heavily dependent, impose significant stress on coastal and marine ecosystems. Areas within which tourists visit have been under increasing pressure from the damage and pollution caused by tourist facilities and supporting infrastructure.

“Indeed, tourism stakeholders must play their part to promote a sustainable blue economy through awareness raising, behavioural modifications, identifying gaps as well as innovative and scalable solutions.”

Other presenters at the Port Royal Lecture series were Ambassador Joachim Schmillen, Vice President of the CMU; Ambassador Olivier Guyonvarch, Ambassador of France to Jamaica and Permanent Representative to the International Seabed Authority; and Senator the Honourable Matthew Samuda, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

Samuda, in his presentation, stated, “the Jamaican ocean is significantly more valuable than the Jamaican land.” He further expressed that “the rate of climate change is already having a devastating impact on the health of our oceans.”

“The reality is, we have a lot of work to do in a very short period of time if we are to leverage the value of our assets on land and leverage the value of our assets at sea, and we are on the front lines of climate change, which exacerbate the problem and means we have to work that much faster if we’re to take advantage of the systems that we have,” he said.

The series also saw key players from the tourism and marine sectors.

As the CMU redefines maritime excellence through innovation, research and technology, it has positioned itself as a thought leader in the blue economy.

The CMU is the only specialised public university and the Caribbean’s only maritime university. It offers degrees, certificates, and diplomas in the Faculties of Marine and Nautical Studies, Engineering and Applied Technology, Shipping and Logistics, and the Centre for Security, Counter Terrorism and Non-Proliferation.

Interested persons can apply at


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As the Caribbean Maritime University continues to re-organise its operations, the University Council has appointed five new Vice Presidents after a rigourous selection process.

According to Council Chairman, Professor Shirley, “these vice presidents will finalize the Executive team, complementing the Interim President Professor Evan Duggan and the University Treasurer Ms. Joy Patricia Harrison who joined the CMU in June 2020”. “Their appointments are critical to the re-organisation of the CMU in line with the mandate given by the Prime Minister when the board was appointed in January 2020”.

The newly appointed Vice Presidents are Professor Ibrahim Ajagunna, Professor Noel Brown, Dr. Taneisha Ingleton, Dr. Jacqueline Leckie Johnson, and Dr. Eron McLean.

Professor Ibrahim Ajagunna previously served as Vice President of Academics & Student Affairs/Deputy to the President will serve as Vice President/Deputy to the President.

Professor Noel Brown, formerly Vice President of Technology and Innovation, has been appointed as Vice President of Academics.

Dr. Taneisha Ingleton, Scholar-practitioner, author and educator joins the CMU as Vice President of Administration/ effective September 6, 2021.  She will have responsibility for Human Resources, Student Administration/Services, Legal Services, Marketing and Communications, Security, General Services and the Secretariat. In that role, she will be in charge of all University functions.

Dr. Jacqueline Leckie Johnson joins the CMU as Vice President in charge of Digital Transformation.  She has extensive experience in the private as well as non-profit sectors having served several organisations as an Information Technology and Business Process consultant, General Manager, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Internal Auditor, among other roles.

Dr. Eron McLean has been appointed as Vice President in charge of Planning and Development.  He previously served as the Vice President in charge of the Office of University Advancement and Development at the CMU.

According to Interim President, Professor Evan Duggan, “these are critical appointments as the CMU’s re-organisation and re-alignment continues, to complement the significant work that has already been completed in several key areas of the organization.”


More on the Vice Presidents

Professor Ibrahim Ajagunna

Professor Ajagunna holds a Higher National Diploma from the Federal Polytechnic Idah, Nigeria; a Master of Science degree from Sheffield Hallam University, UK; a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Technology, Jamaica and a Doctor of Philosophy in Sustainable Development from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.  Since joining the CMU, in 2008, he has helped to transform the academic landscape of the institution from a mere five associate degree programmes to over twenty-three undergraduate and five postgraduate degree programmes.

Professor Noel Brown

Professor Brown graduated from the Kiev National Aviation University – formerly Kiev Institute of Civil Aviation Engineers (KIIGA) – in 1993, with a Master of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a Diploma in Education. He won a FULBRIGHT LASPAU Fellowship to pursue a PhD Degree at the University of Oklahoma in 1999. There, he earned a second Master of Science Degree and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He has authored, co-authored, and published over 30 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers in his areas of expertise, which include heat and mass transfer, fluid flow, energy storage, renewable energy, electrohydrodynamic, cooling of electronic components in the aircraft industry and environmental sustainability.

Dr. Taneisha Ingleton

Dr Taneisha Ingleton holds the LLB degree from the University of London; a PhD from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada; a Master of Philosophy with distinction; a Post Graduate Diploma in Education with distinction; and the Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours from the University of the West Indies. She has served the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information for seven years; four of those years as Director/Principal for the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL). She  Her dissertation research and scholarly writing have been focused on transformational leadership and leadership development her and she has published papers on leadership development, language and culture. she has also travelled extensively for consulting engagements, conference presentations and as a keynote speaker at scholarly events.



Dr. Jacqueline Leckie Johnson


Dr. Leckie Johnson holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration (with High Commendations) from the Mona School of Business at the University of the West Indies, Mona; the MSc degree in Computer-Based Management Systems (with Distinction) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting (with Honours).

She has a track record of successfully implementing information technology and process improvements in a variety of business entities in the private and public sectors as well as in the non-profit arena.  She has previously served as an Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Consultant at the Caribbean Maritime University, spearheading the implementation of the Accounting and Procurement modules of the Enterprise Resource System (ERP), which has greatly assisted in modernizing the IT capability of key departments of the CMU.  In previous roles during her career, Dr. Leckie Johnson served as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Internal Auditor, and General Manager within two household group of companies operating in the retail, distribution, manufacturing and financial services sectors.


 Dr. Eron McLean

Dr. McLean holds a Doctor of Education in Adult Education from Walden University, the MBA degree from the University of New Orleans and a Bachelor of the Arts from the University of the West Indies. He is a trained teacher having obtained a Diploma in Teaching English & History from Church Teachers’ College.

Dr. McLean previously served as the Vice President of University Advancement and Development at the CMU.   In that role, he provided progressive leadership in strategic planning and the implementation of objectives for the University campuses. He was responsible for executive oversight of the properties and facilities, plans and service quality.



“There’s a smaller window for error”: Captain Andre Smith shares risks facing marine industry

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Being part any industry for over four decades would give anyone substantial insight into its operations, developments, and challenges. It is with this unique perspective that Captain Andre Smith has brought to the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) where he serves as a senior marine pilot.

Captain Smith began his journey in the maritime industry as a cadet in 1980 before working his way up to being captain of his first vessel a decade later. He described that initial voyage where he held command of a vessel from Mobile, Alabama in the United States of America to Port Esquivel in Jamaica as filled with nerves but “exciting”.

Back then, things were somewhat simpler as the demands of international commerce were not at today’s increasingly frenzied pace, which has brought its own difficulties.

“The day-to-day challenges that the [local] marine pilot face is the same challenge that all pilots around the world face; the vessels are getting much bigger [but] the ports are not getting any bigger,” Smith.

“It’s the same size ports that we are squeezing these bigger and bigger vessels in. Every time a bigger vessel comes, there’s a smaller window for error in doing these manoeuvres. So we have to be extremely careful bringing these ships in.”

Stressing the role of the marine pilot in carefully guiding vessels, Smith said “Safety is our biggest regard; that overrides everything. We don’t consider commercial pressure when it comes to safety because that is our job and that is what we are paid to do – to make sure that everything is safe, we don’t have any accidents, we don’t have any oil spills, anything like that. That is what we do first and foremost.”

Despite the significance of the role, the Caribbean Maritime Institute and Warsash Maritime College alumnus said mariners are often overlooked.

“The Jamaican seafarers don’t get vast recognition. I think the only time anybody heard or cared anything about seafarers is when the pandemic started and we had to repatriate some of the persons that were working on cruise ships,” he said.

Despite the challenges faced, including the inability to leave ships and be repatriated home when their contracts ended, seafarers continued to work “to keep the lines of commerce open because the world trade is pinned or pivots on maritime trade. We are the silent underpin to the whole world trade and a lot of people don’t realise that and take a lot of things for granted.”

With the International Maritime Organization recognising Day of the Seafarer, and the need for their ‘fair futures’ on June 25, Smith shared his thoughts on what that means.

“A fair future is one in which they are adequately compensated for the work that they have done and are not mistreated, as they have been in some instances, by not getting wages and not being able to go home when their contracts are up.” Further, he said while the dwelling conditions aboard most ships have improved, many are still “less than ideal for long-term living”.

Locally, Smith said the continued education and training of seafarers is urgently needed to ensure safe operations within the developing industry.

“I would love to see a more comprehensive programme of training because these ships are getting much bigger and the ports are remaining at the same size so we need to do more in terms of keeping pilots current with the activities that are happening internationally and to make sure that when these ships come, they don’t come as a surprise to us and we are struggling to keep up with them.

“We would have already been fully trained, done all the simulators and we have gone onboard live model ships to train. What I would love to see is the more fulsome co-operation with some of these shipping companies when it comes to developing training programmes. I would love to see more work being done in coordinating training for all the pilots; a few of us have already done some preliminary work but that is far too few, we need to do some more.”





Theory and Practical in One – MSc Security Studies

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Based on the developments taking place on the world stage and in the international system, the students participating in the MSc. Security Studies programme at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) have been exposed to both the theory and practical components of these developments, making them more rounded in their field of study. Happening almost simultaneously, they would have witnessed a global pandemic (COVID-19) and the international responses by nations.

The US elections and the events of January 6, 2021, – race relations in the US and how it has manifested into hate crimes, the death of George Floyd and the vociferous call for policing reforms are issues and possibilities which were assessed during the programme. The students would have seen a shift in US foreign policy from Donald Trump’s realist pulpit “America First and America Alone” to Biden’s Liberalist approach of “America is back, Multi Literalism is back”. They are presently witnessing the G7 Summit to be followed by the NATO Summit. They would have also noticed the shift in terrorism threat from the international level to the domestic level and finally, the threat of cybercrime and how cyber-criminals are using ransomware to extort large enterprises, especially those located in the United States of America. The list is not exhaustive, but these issues readily come to mind.

Mr Owen Ellington and I, along with the other lecturers, would have taught all these areas and possibilities in our lectures, which would have incorporated the theoretical aspect of the teaching and learning experience. On the other hand, the antagonism in the international system and human behaviour would have addressed the practical side in reality.

I don’t believe that another group will be so fortunate to receive the theoretical knowledge and have that information unfold so quickly with developments globally, thus creating a realistic and practical experience for them.

We encourage our students to continue to engage in environmental scanning as they seek to apply their knowledge in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.

Let us not forget that knowledge gained is of no value if it is not shared.


Author: Assan Thompson, Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, JCF                

Head of Department,  Centre for Security, Counter terrorism and Non-Proliferation (CSCTN)                

Caribbean Maritime University

CMU a key partner in a regional port development initiative

By | CMU News, Uncategorized

June 1, 2021 (Kingston, JA) – The Caribbean Maritime University today announces that it will be a part of the INTERAMERICAS GATE project, a collaborative Caribbean partnership to develop better tools to aggregate and visualize key maritime port economic and environmental data. Led by the Antilles-Guiana Interport Coordination Council (CCIAG), the INTERAMERICAS GATE is a multi-partner project between the Grand Port Maritime of Guiana, the Grand Port Maritime of Guadeloupe, the Grand Port Maritime of Martinique, the Galisbay Port of Saint-Martin and the Caribbean Maritime University through our Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing (CMU-CDIAM).

The project is funded by the INTERREG Caribbean, a European Territorial Co-operation programme that allows operators in Guadeloupe, Guiana, Martinique and Saint-Martin to implement win-win projects with their neighbors in the Caribbean. The INTERREG operational programme makes it possible to finance numerous cooperation projects between Caribbean territories. In this case from the Guaine Shield to the Caribbean, this project will use data as a bridge to understand more about key port economic data in the region. The INTERREG Caribbean funding made it possible to integrate the CMU-CDIAM in Jamaica as an extra-community partner.

The global maritime industry is strategic to economic development of nations especially in small island states like those in the Caribbean region. Data and information have now emerged as some of the most important assets that a country/region can develop. Tapping in to and sharing key port data across the region can make Caribbean ports more competitive drivers of regional growth and development. The CMU-CDIAM will lead the technical development of the web-based platform that will combine datasets from the 4 port partners with machine learning algorithms to help the regional port authorities get a better picture of the threats, opportunities, weaknesses, and strengths found in the consolidated port economic and environmental data.

“This project brings together the best of the CMU’s capabilities — our knowledge in the maritime sector and our expertise in digital transformation technologies,” said Erica Simmons, Executive Director, CMU-CDIAM, “We know the importance of data and information as the foundations of digital transformation, and we are committed to contributing the transformation of our Caribbean maritime sector.”

The collaborative 3-year project will begin with collecting data such as annual tonnage, annual TEUs, traffic and passengers from 4 ports but eventually be extended to include all Caribbean ports and more data points. For more information about the INTERAMERICAS GATE visit:


The Real Fear of Terrorism – Major Public Safety Concern – Part 1

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Working in law enforcement for over forty years, has helped me to understand the view held by criminologists from across the world, that the fear of crime can be more serious and devastating than crime itself. I have seen in many communities where the effects of crime have generated so much fear and anxiety, to the extent where the lives of citizens have been disrupted beyond repair. The run for cover by hundreds of citizens in Times Square, New York on Tuesday, August 6, 2019, when popping sounds came from a motorcycle which was backfiring whilst it travelled along the roadway, is a classic example of how the fear of crime can affect the individual, community and country.  Those who were in that particular space and who rushed for cover could have caused a stampeded resulting in the injury or death of many or the destruction of property.

What were the people running from?

The people who scampered for cover were not running from the motor cycle itself, instead, they were running from what sounded like gunfire which has become too often the sound that has brought death, destruction and grief to the United States, which is classified as the world’s leading superpower. This superpower has not only prescribed security solutions for a number of developed and developing countries but have also intervened militarily in some countries to maintain law and order. Judging from the actions of the United States in helping other states with similar circumstances, one would imagine that they would possess both the will and capacity to deal effectively with this problem in their own country, to prevent further bloodshed. Unfortunately, that seems not to be the case.

The people were running away from the possibility of becoming a statistic from the many mass shootings which have taken place in the United States in recent times. Fresh in their minds were the two mass shootings which occurred hours apart, one in El Paso, Texas and the other in Dayton, Ohio which together claimed the lives of over thirty people and causing the injury of dozens. The gun continues to be the weapon of choice in the commission of these mass murder.

Mass shootings United States 2019

According to Gun Violence Archive (GVA) which is a non-profit corporation in the United States, and which is responsible to provide free online access to gun violence information; mass shootings topped the days of the year for 2019. As of August 5, 2019, which was the 217th day of the year, there were 255 mass shootings reported across the United States. The GVA defines mass shooting as any incident where at least four persons were shot, excluding the shooter.

The shooting at Dayton, Ohio, claimed nine (9) lives and injured twenty-seven (27) persons, whilst the shooting at Walmart in El Paso, Texas left twenty-two persons (22) dead and at least twenty-four (24) wounded. These are the two most recent mass shootings that have generated considerable fear, panic and anxiety among citizens and visitors within the United States. GVA has reported that before the mass shooting in El Paso, the deadliest mass shooting for 2019 happened in a Municipal building in Virginia Beach, where a former city employee killed twelve (12) persons and injured four (4).

For the period January 1 to August 5, 2019, GVA published the total number of mass shootings, injuries and deaths as follows:
Total shooting incidents = 33, 237
Total gun deaths = 8796
Total injuries = 17, 480

The last time mass shootings topped the days of the year according to GVA was 2016, which ended with 382 mass shootings. 2017 and 2018 recorded 346 and 340 mass shootings, respectively.

Call those shootings at Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas by any other name, their motivation, modus, intent, objectives, and end state are consistent with terrorism criteria, notwithstanding the racial identity of the perpetrators.

Irony of the situation

The irony of the situation which makes it incomprehensible, is that whilst so many persons are being murdered by men who satisfy the terrorists criteria, the authorities have failed to designate these killers with the appropriate classification of “Terrorist”. The failure to designate them as terrorist, has hampered effective counter terrorism strategies to deal with the problem.

Strategies that would allow law enforcement to engage in activities such as wiretapping and financial investigations to identify terrorists financing and to deal with sponsors and facilitators of terrorism, may not be employed outside the terrorist designation. The internet which is a major source of radicalization of these killers will remain untouched once these perpetrators are not classified as terrorists, a designation which is readily given to international terrorists. Double standards have no place in the fight against terrorism, neither are euphemisms in crime classifications.

Terrorism criteria

In arriving at the terrorist classification there are a number of variables which must be weighed in the terrorism equation. Variables such psychology, sociology, motivation, intent, purpose, capability and end state. When these incidents in the United States are examined against international terrorism standard, they not only bear similarities with groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda but they are equal in most respect. The only identifiable difference is that the perpetrators are from within their own country and are in receipt of support from misguided person, who are blinded by conditions of race, colour and politics. Nothing would be wrong if they were designated the status of domestic terrorists. Law enforcement would have a better hand to counter their activities when they are so designated.

The psychology of the terrorists

Terrorists at the international or domestic level hold the belief that they are marginalized, the world or some group of persons are against them, the criminal acts they are carrying out are not wrong and it is for a good reason why they are behaving in such manner. The term “Freedom fighting” is often used by them as a euphemism to soften their crime. The greater part of their psyche predisposes them to inflicting mass casualty on vulnerable civilians and generate fear as was seen at Time Square, with the end state of forcing the citizens into submission so they will have total control over them. They will be happy and encouraged to carry on their activities when acts committed by them are blamed on other matters such as mental health, violent video games, family and community unattachment. Ambivalence cannot be part of the counter strategy to deal with terrorism.

Similarly, fear was generated from the 9/11 incident where up to today, persons who previously travelled on aircraft with only the fear of accidents, which according to the Federal Aviation Authority FAA are few and far apart, have hardly flown since that incident. That incident which is referred to as 9/11, has changed the conduct of travel and trade across the world. As travellers and traders suffer inconvenience whilst going about their business, the terrorists are likely smiling that their mission has been accomplished in creating fear, panic and anxiety in the aviation industry.

For any person or group of persons to lend support to people with this type of thinking, would be the clearest indication of them not understanding that crime affects the entire society and is not confined to the individuals against whom it is committed. In the proverbial term, “Today for me, tomorrow for you”. With the global village becoming smaller due to international travel and trade, what is happening in the United States can very well happen in other countries as was the case in Christ Church, New Zealand. In that incident, the terrorist who killed over fifty (50) people at worship was from another country.

The fear has become so widespread that Amnesty International has issued travel advisory, warning people traveling to the United States to be on the lookout for perpetrators of gun violence. They have warned citizens against attending places with large gathering such as schools, churches, bars, casinos, shopping malls, and cultural concerts. This warning has serious implications for business and social activities as these places which are listed are almost inescapable whether in the conduct of business or social engagement.

In arriving at a prognosis relating to the prevailing circumstances, guidance is taken from Ronald Akers, “Social Learning Theory” which makes the point that criminal behaviour is learnt through a process of socialization. With the unrestricted access to the internet and the “copycat” mentality, which is being actively played out in other jurisdictions, if strong counter measures are not taken, the situation will likely worsen. The article posted in the Washington Press on August 18, 2019 titled “Four different white men have been arrested for plotting mass shootings in two weeks” supports this theory”.

It begs the question therefore, “What must we do and when?”.

Part 2 of this article will address, “Countering Terrorism and Restoring Public Safety”.

Assan Thompson, Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, JCF
Head of Department
Centre for Security, Counter terrorism and Non-Proliferation (CSCTN)
Caribbean Maritime University

CMU receives laptop donation from ACMF

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The Caribbean Maritime University received a donation of eighteen laptops from the American Caribbean Maritime Foundation (ACMF) to assist with reducing the digital gap that exists in online learning brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With this contribution, several CMU students who lack access to computers at home will soon have the tools they need to participate in online teaching and learning as the University continues to deliver classes remotely.

“This is a great donation that came at the right time,” Prof. Noel Brown, Vice President of Technology and Innovation said during the handover exercise on Thursday. In August, the University announced that all classes for the current semester will be conducted online.  “These computers will be loaned to needy students so they can continue their teaching and learning activities at the University,” Prof. Brown further explained.

Meanwhile Nahjae Nunes, CMU’s Students’ Union Vice President, Education, was specifically grateful for the donation as he believes it would go far in ‘reducing the digital divide’ among the student population. “As an executive member of the Students’ Union, we are particularly grateful for this contribution, it is indeed timely, and I can assure the ACMF that it will be put to its fullest use in the advancement of all our students,” Nahjae expressed.

Also present to witness the handover exercise were Prof. Evan Duggan, Interim President and Prof. Ibrahim Ajagunna, Deputy President.

The contribution follows a scholarship donation, stewarded by the ACMF, which aims to ‘improve access to maritime education and training through financial contributions from the Foundation.’ Earlier in October, eighteen students received scholarships to cover the remainder of their academic years at the University.

The CMU has over the years established a collaborative relationship with the ACMF. The CEO, Dr. Geneive Brown Metzger recently led a call for additional donors to support the Foundation that has, as its mission, to ‘alleviate poverty and transforming lives in the Caribbean through maritime education and community development.’

“We owe a debt of gratitude to ACMF benefactors Roland Malins-Smith and Tower Isle Frozen Foods for making these scholarships possible,” says Dr. Brown Metzger.

Corporate entities, individuals and groups wishing to donate to the Foundation—can do so by visiting the website

ACMF continues generosity to CMU students with financial donation

By | Uncategorized

Eighteen students from the Caribbean Maritime University received a financial boost in light of setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, when the American Caribbean Maritime Foundation (ACMF) committed to funding their undergraduate tuition to the duration of their programme.

The Foundation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is planning to donate 18 laptops to the CMU to support students with resource challenges for online learning.

President and Executive Director of the ACMF, Dr. Geneive Brown Metzger, made the announcements during a recent ceremony held recently to introduce the 18 beneficiaries who will be recognized at the Foundation’s annual award and gala to be held tomorrow October 2, 2020.

The ACMF, a US-based non-profit organization, each year hosts the Anchor Awards in New York to recognize pioneers in the maritime industry and CMU students who have demonstrated strong academic performance, leadership, and service to the community.

According to Dr. Brown Metzger, this year’s virtual event will showcase the contribution of two honourees to the shipping sector, along with the work of Foundation with ACMF scholars and grantees. “There are two honourees, Win Thurber, Chairman of Norton Lilly International, the largest shipping agency in North America; and Risk Sasso, Chairman of MSC Cruises,” Brown Metzger shared.

Building on its own commitment to address the diversity of need among Caribbean students and develop infrastructure to increase capacity in maritime training institutions, the ACMF, since its establishment in 2016, has contributed over $45 million in funds to students across the Caribbean region.

“We [ACMF] are extremely proud of the partnership we have with the CMU and what we have been able to accomplish since the start of the Foundation,” Brown Metzger expressed.

In speaking to the importance of Anchor Awards, she shared that it is ‘more than the awards.’ For Brown Metzger it is about helping to transform the lives of Caribbean youth. “We are on a mission to safeguard access for young deserving future mariners to the industry. It is vital that indigenous Caribbean people have leadership roles and are vested in the industry,” she noted. “However, a big part of that is ensuring we have a trained cadre of industry-ready graduates to take up these jobs.”

Much like Brown Metzger, deputy president at the CMU, Prof. Ibrahim Ajagunna, said the ACMF has done a tremendous job supporting Caribbean students who have the ambition, but lack the financial support.

“Over the last three years, several CMU students have benefitted greatly from the generosity of the ACMF.” Many of these students, he said, consider the support from the ACMF as ‘life-changing. “The reality is, without this support from the ACMF, it would be difficult for these students to complete their academic studies.”

Speaking on behalf of this year’s beneficiaries Dahlia Blake, a second-year logistics student, pointed out that, the ACMF provides well-needed opportunities for students who are ignited with a passion for success, but lack the financial support. For her part, she also noted that: “This Foundation has given me a second chance at pursuing my academic goals, as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted my academic plans for the upcoming year.”

The mission of the ACMF is to alleviate poverty and transform lives in the Caribbean through maritime education and community development.

The ACMF Awards and Gala will broadcast on; and can be viewed on Facebook live. Tickets are now available at a cost of $150 US each.  Proceeds with go to the Foundation’s charitable activities.


CMU Student Taps into Family Business to Finance Tuition

By | Uncategorized

By the time Shemar Castell finalized his preparation in mid-March for the yearly work and travel programme in the United States (US), businesses worldwide were shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic, disrupting the academic journey for millions of college students. But Castell, a 21-year-old student specializing in customs processes, freight forwarding and immigration at the Caribbean Maritime University, is no stranger to turning adversity into advantage.

Standing on the boardwalk along the Palisadoes Road, he recounted other setbacks he has overcame in his lifetime – monetary restraints, grief, and peer pressure. “I am known for my resilience ever since I was young,” he explained. Castell spent his early years in Seaforth St. Thomas, before moving into the corporate area for school.

“I moved to Kingston relatively early — I would say my life has been characterized by movement from various households. As a result, I attended three basic schools, three primary schools and a college before settling at the CMU, ” he shared.

However, with the new academic year less than one month away, Castell is focused for now on managing the day-to-day operation of his family business—Laundry Bucket an in-home pickup and drop-off laundry and dry-cleaning service.

“The business has been doing good so far. We have had a lot of repeat customers and we plan to expand our services to Mandeville and Montego Bay soon, ” he told us. ‘It was actually my uncle, Javette Nixon, who came up with the business idea and shared it with me. I was excited to be a part of it,’ he said.

And with university students around the island looking for ways to cope financially with the coronavirus pandemic, even as they fill out paperwork for student loan funds. While others, are adapting their business models and innovative ideas so that they can earn an income.

“Everyone was looking forward to the summer, ” he shared. But noted that the financial setbacks that accompanied the coronavirus, ‘has filled students with uncertainties in relation to our academic future.’

But with the fees under revision by the University Council, he is hopeful that there will be a reduction come September. “A lot of us [CMU students] are remaining optimistic that we may see a slight reduction in the fees prior to the start of the new academic year mainly because classes are now online, ” he expressed. “So, one would expect at least a reduction in the auxiliary fees.

He hinted that he is not a big fan of online learning, however, admitted that it presents a unique opportunity “to explore other online ventures while attending classes while observing the stay-at-home orders by the government. ”

For Castell, coronavirus was a catalyst for entrepreneurship.

“I am now seeing a lot of students creating new business ventures whether online or face-to-face. Personally, I want to implore students to be innovative, and instead of focusing on the problem, create solutions that can earn you an income and solve real-life challenges, ” he advised.

The M.L.C: An Abandoned Seafarers’ Lifejacket Part 1

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Written by: Jermaine Reid

In the last few weeks Jamaican news reporters have ensured that the Jamaican population is aware of the plight of thousands of Jamaican seafarers who want to return home but are unable to, since Jamaica closed its ports to cruise ships on March 14, 2020 in response to the first confirmed case of Covid19 on the island. Some persons may state that these seafarers’ have been abandoned, however, to determine what abandonment is under Maritime law one must examine the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.

On a cold winter morning of February 23, 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland a monumental day in Maritime Law history was unfolding at the International Labour Organization. After five years of intense meetings the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) was now ready for signing by member states.

With the stroke of a pen and the submission of instruments of accession to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Jamaica became a signatory to the Maritime Labour Convention on June 14, 2017. Seafarers who possess Jamaican citizenship are now protected by the extensive rights that this convention, dubbed the ‘Seafarers’ Bill of Rights’ conferred upon them.

The preamble of the MLC gives a clear coherent trajectory that its member states are expected to follow international standards on ship safety, human security and quality ship management. This is achieved by the five titles that the MLC is divided into:

1. Minimum Requirements for seafarers to work on a ship

2. Conditions of employment

3. Accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering

4. Health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection

5. Compliance and enforcement

Conditions of Employment This international convention is one of such a magnitude that delving into all five would be quite voluminous. Title two by its very nature of Conditions of Employment is the source of most legal disputes as it encompasses: A. Seafarers’ Employment Agreement B. Wages C. Hours of work and Rest D. Entitlement to leave E. Repatriation F. Manning

The issue of abandonment is often intertwined with breach of Employment Agreement, none payment of wages and unreasonable working hours, which results in the seafarer wanting to be sent back to their home country i.e repatriated.

Seafarers’ Employment Agreement

This agreement is the lifeline of the seafarers’ connection to the ship owner and the ship. The MLC dictates that it shall be clearly written, have seafarers contact details, ship owners contact details, location agreement entered into, amount of wages, annual leave, termination conditions, health benefits and any other particulars required by national law. The MLC further ensures that the rights of the seafarer is protected by ensuring that seafarers are given an opportunity to get independent advice before signing the agreement. The employment agreement is in essence the major document a seafarer will get from the ship owner and as such it should contain relevant information of the ship owner and adequately protect the seafarer by allowing him to know the ship owner’s duties and obligations from before he even signs the employment agreement. In the event the seafarer or the ship owner decided to commence litigation the parties will know exactly who and where documents are to be served.

To be continued….