Membership of the International Maritime Organisation is important for strengthening Jamaica and the Caribbean region’s global position in the maritime sector according to its Transport Minister Robert Montague.
Speaking during Jamaica’s virtual launch event to kickstart its campaign for re-election to Category C membership of the IMO Council for 2022-2023, the Honourable Minister Montague said re-election would “communicate to our nation and the world at large that we believe in our worth, capability and leadership.”
Jamaica’s important shipping industry and economically vital cruise sector have been seriously impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Minister praised the maritime community’s “indomitable spirit” which is now driving Jamaica forward again.
“The resilience of international shipping has again proven that the application of robust uniform rules and standards will guarantee uninterrupted vital trade for our lives and livelihood, in spite of this new challenge faced over the past 15 months. Import and export trade has been guaranteed because ships have kept sailing even while there have been major welfare problems with crewing,” he commented. “This largely uninterrupted trade is possible because of the pervading influence of the uniform global application of standards promulgated by the IMO through robust treaties and regulations which have been adopted and effectively implemented by Member States.”
Jamaica will compete against 173 other IMO member States for its position on the IMO’s Council. The Minister, who proudly led Jamaica’s team at the previous IMO elections in 2019, told guests: “We consider our bid to be elected to Category ‘C’ of the IMO as a strategic move which will also raise our Small Island Developing States’ maritime profile in this governing body.”
Regaining its place on the IMO Council, a position it has held since 2007, will allow Jamaica to continue advocating for the development of uniform standards for international shipping while advancing the issues of the Caribbean region, SIDS, and Least Developed countries, as well as playing an active role in environmental protection and the global fight against climate change and its impacts.
Emphasising the importance of maritime matters to Jamaica, the Minister said: “Jamaica’s maritime space is about twenty times that of our land area. This is a large coastal area to monitor, preserve and protect while affording freedom of navigation for international maritime traffic.”
Championing Jamaica’s wealth of maritime expertise he commented: “Our Government has demonstrated that, through the provision of massive investments in maritime and ports infrastructure, maritime education and training as well as a qualified work force, among a host of other relevant attributes, we qualify for a place on the IMO Council. Our plans to position Jamaica as a viable shipping centre, a subset of the Logistics Hub, will continue in spite of the obvious economic shocks of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This has the potential to attract more shipping and allied services, and to be a driver of economic development.”