Royal Caribbean International donates to CMU
President and chief executive officer of cruise line Royal Caribbean International (RCI) Michael Bayley made his first visit to the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) on Monday, March 4.
Bayley was accompanied by Russell Benford, vice-president of government relations; Michael Figgis, director-business strategy; and Tracy Quan, AVP of global communications. They were accompanied by Dr Geneive Brown Metzger, president of American Caribbean Maritime Foundation (ACMF) – the charitable organisation with the mandate to secure scholarships and grants across the Americas. Together, ACMF and RCI have pledged to raise scholarships for needy students across the Caribbean to pursue maritime studies in Jamaica. Accordingly, prospective students of the CMU can now benefit from a scholarship fund made possible through the generous donation of US$50,000 from Royal Caribbean.
Range of possibilities
Participants on the visit explored the provision of berths for cadets studying marine transportation and marine engineering and placement for students pursuing a bachelor’s in cruise shipping and marine tourism. This forms part of the students’ mandatory internship programme component known as industrial awareness. This inclusion of CMU graduates as employees and students as interns would add another level of diversity to the labour force among RCI cruise ships. The impact of this development extends beyond the university, as it helps to position Jamaica on the world stage in the cruise shipping industry.
Already, two Bahamian students are benefiting from this scholarship facility and are enrolled in the Faculty of Marine and Nautical Studies. The objective is to expand this facility to assist more students by demonstrating that the company’s investment is a worthwhile one. The company also intends to ensure that Jamaican students benefit from the next tranche of scholarships. Myrna Ellis, senior lecturer in the Faculty of Shipping and Logistics and Cruise Shipping and Marine Tourism programme coordinator, was pleased that, “the RCI team recognised what we [CMU] have to offer, and they are willing to partner with us because our values are aligned”.
Bayley spoke positively about strengthening ties with Jamaica. He said, “As the company seeks to expand its fleet, it is likely to tap into the potential work force here, and increase calls to ports, especially in Falmouth”. For his part, CMU president, Professor Fritz Pinnock was elated to receive the support in student-funding and to host the management team from one of the largest cruise lines in the world.