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Gleaner Honour Award: Maritime scholars charged to be agents of change

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2016 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju

David Jean-Marie, president of the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA), on Monday charged the 2016 recipients of its scholarship fund to use their cutting-edge training at the Caribbean Maritime Institute, Palisadoes Park, Jamaica, to fuel the dynamic changes necessary to transform the regional maritime industry into the economic game changer it has the potential to become.

"The key to our transformation resides in our people whose expertise is critical if the region is to consolidate its global position as the hub of major trade routes and tourist activities. We must continue to help to define and clarify the changing world in which our members businesses operate by educating our people," he told the eight recipients of the Monica Silvera Scholarship Foundation, during a ceremony following the CSA general council meeting at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston.

He continued: "I hope you will carry the torch of our pioneers and be the new generation of leaders who will take our industry to new heights. I implore you, seize the opportunity to hone your skills, and learn as much as you can to empower yourselves to contribute innovative solutions to the pressing issues confronting the maritime industry. I implore you to take every opportunity you have and transform it into something great for yourselves, so that in return you will effect great change in our industry."

The scholarship honours the memory of Monica Silvera, a Jamaican who gave sterling service to the CSA for more than 21 years, en route to becoming its first female executive vice-president, and was established in 2005, some four years after she died.

The seven full-time students and one pursuing part-time studies each received US$2,500, which Jean-Marie said is in keeping with the CSA's desire to provide avenues for Caribbean youth to access real opportunities for specialist training in sector-related areas.

"The CSA has as its mission to provide and foster the highest quality service to the maritime industry through training development ... for its members and the peoples of the Caribbean region. In keeping with this mission, the CSA has a specific niche to fill in terms of creating the next generation of Caribbean maritime port and logistics experts," he explained.

The eight scholarships awarded this year is a doubling of the four presented in 2014 and 2015, following the decision in 2013 to provide financial help to more than one recipient.

Meanwhile, Dr Fritz Pinnock, executive director of the CMI, reminded the audience of the importance of continued investment in the maritime industry, given that the Caribbean Shipping Association is the largest shipping platform in the region and the extended Caribbean, extending from the tip of Florida down to the Yucatan Peninsula, some 4,000 square kilometres.