Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Caribbean Maritime Institute: A product that can make Jamaica proud

Published:Monday | January 18, 2016 | 1:00 AM
From left: Captain Jhonny Pretell, director, marine and professional studies; Audrey Sewell, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing; Dr Fritz Pinnock, executive director of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI); and Joan Spencer-Ernandez, CMI board chairman, at a Gleaner Honour Awards category luncheon held Friday at the company's Kingston offices.

The presence of consistently high winds and choppy seas notwithstanding, the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) has not merely docked safely, but done so with great expectations on the horizon, after a hazardous 35-year voyage.

Amid the great surges through which several captains have steered the organisation, the CMI has weathered the storm.

"Very interesting and exciting journey," commented the current 'captain', Dr Fritz Pinnock, executive director of the CMI, on a day when he was among a group of high achievers who were fÍted by The Gleaner at the company's North Street, Kingston, offices.

The institution has been recognised with a Gleaner Honour Award for its contribution to education in 2015.

Pinnock noted that during its expedition, the CMI encountered great "inertia".

"We (Jamaicans) have got so accustomed to what the traditional system of education is and not realigning to the marketplace," he said.

Pinnock noted that the CMI has been instrumental in helping to redefine the tertiary landscape in Jamaica.

"We have come a long way, we have grown," asserted Pinnock. "This is my ninth year at the CMI, soon to be the Caribbean Maritime University."

He added: "Our revolution has been met with some resistance, but I am happy for the leadership in the Government and various levels that has seen the benefit of a CMI."

Pinnock noted that, over the nine-year span, enrolment has surged from 80 to just under 3,000.

Another storm surge for CMI, Pinnock said, were the financial impediments along the way. However, he also asserted that the CMI was able to steer its way around those obstacles.

"We sought to build the brand value of CMI and international companies are coming on board to support us financially," he said with a grin.

"As they see a winner, people tend to want to attach their brands."

The institution, he disclosed, has grown from one to five campuses, with the student population spanning different continents.

Added the proud 'captain' with a smile: "The CMI is a product that can make Jamaica proud. This is as a result of, not me, but my team; I am just the cheerleader."

Pinnock expressed thanks to The Gleaner Company for its recognition of the institute's accomplishments.

This has come on the heels of an international business award, as well as the Business Initiative Directions International Quality Award in Geneva, Switzerland.

The CMI is the first Caribbean tertiary institution to receive such an award. It has also been nominated as the Quality Ambassador for the Global Business Initiative.