The Government is looking at establishing a full campus of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI Campus) in the parish of St. Thomas.
This was disclosed by Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, at a Think Tank held at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) head office in Kingston on Tuesday (September 19).
He said that the Government has particular interest in expanding the university into the parish to drive growth in tandem with the development of the St. Thomas leg of the south coast highway.
He informed that the institution, soon to be officially renamed Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), will have a presence in the proposed development for the Morant Bay town centre.
“In the new facility that we are building at the old Goodyear factory, there is a space for the university (CMI Campus) in that new township operation, and we are considering providing further capacity to have a full campus out in St. Thomas. We really want to drive development out there,” he said, noting that the current location at Palisadoes is inadequate to meet demands.
The Minister said that there are also plans to expand the institution into other parts of the country.
“We need to have some capacity in the Clarendon area around Vernamfield, because it is maritime and logistics; so what we don’t want is for (CMI Campus) to only have a presence in Kingston and St. Andrew,” he pointed out. Executive Director of the CMI, Dr. Fritz Pinnock, commended the Government for having the foresight to include the institution in the development plans for St. Thomas.
“I see the development of the campus in the parish as a great move, where we will be putting people in the centre of development, which is the most sustainable development that we can have,” he said.
He also hailed the development plan for the parish. “This is a new concept and a new model. I applaud it. The whole parish of St. Thomas is poised for greater development. It has good natural resources; it is a green field, an area ripe for development, with open land space and good access to deep water,” he pointed out.
Dr. Pinnock noted that Cow Bay in the parish has the deepest harbour in the island and the wider region. Cow Bay has a natural depth of 51 metres.
“You don’t have to dredge. These are very good waters for development right along the coastline, so it’s a natural fit. And with the highway infrastructure, it would take just about 15 minutes to get across, so we now have to think about how we can spread development,” he noted.
CMI will officially become CMU on World Maritime Day, Thursday, September 28 at an official Charter Day ceremony at the National Arena.
Sourced from the Jamaica Information Service