KINGSTON (JIS) — Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon. Gaston A. Browne, has called on Governments in the Caribbean to urgently band together to advance their own causes.
He points out that this is necessary as Caribbean countries are being increasingly marginalised in the global community.
The Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address at the 33rd annual graduation ceremony of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, on November 13.
“We are not permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council…we are denied the ability to represent ourselves on the decision making bodies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank…we have no place in the Group of 20 – the big powers of the world who create policies that affect us – without even giving us a hearing,” Mr. Browne said.
He emphasised that in order to advance their own agenda, the countries of the region must demonstrate that “we have something to contribute” and possess value that can be added to the worth of global transactions.
The Prime Minister charged the graduands to be valuable contributors to the advancement of Jamaica and the region, noting that the career they have chosen, has a myriad of opportunities.
“The shipping and maritime industry is an extraordinarily dynamic sector, always evolving,” he noted, pointing out that 90 per cent of world trade is done through shipping.
Mr. Browne argued that the maritime landscape, over the next decade, will be completely different, explaining that as the Panama canal is expanded, and opportunities are sought for passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean, the Caribbean is geographically and strategically placed to take advantage of increased trade, and logistics.
“This means opportunities for you who are graduating here today,” he told the group.
The 180 students have achieved degrees and diplomas in the areas of: logistics and supply chain management; cruise shipping and marine tourism; international shipping and logistics; security administration and management; and nautical science.
The ceremony was attended by a large audience, which included Ministers of government, representatives of international maritime organizations and institutions, members of the shipping fraternity, members of the diplomatic and consular corps, and families of the graduands.