Jamaica’s maritime security capacity is set to receive a boost with the official opening of the Caribbean Military Maritime Training Centre (CMMTC) on June 27, in Port Royal.
The centre, which was born out of a partnership between Jamaica and Canada, was jointly opened by Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting and Canadian Minister of Defence, Peter MacKay, and is dedicated to the training of regional military and law enforcement maritime forces to international standard.
Minister Bunting said the centre’s opening "will enhance the ability of maritime law enforcement officials to carry out their roles with efficiency and effectiveness. It will also contribute to improving the intelligence architecture and facilitating regional and international cooperation, whether in fighting narcotics trafficking or responding to maritime threats and national disaster."
He pointed out that the Caribbean region is located in the key trading route of the major producers and consumers of narcotics and is always at risk of becoming a major hub for these illicit activities. “There is an urgent need for us to increase not just our vigilance but also our capacity at our borders and in our maritime space,” Mr. Bunting stated.
He expressed confidence that the CMMTC “will equip maritime officials with the necessary knowledge and tools to respond to existing threats and provide insight to allow for proactive, as well as strategic solutions” to impending incidents.
The Canadian Defence Minister, in his remarks, described the establishment of the CMMTC as, “the latest chapter in a long history of collaboration and cooperation,” between his country and Jamaica.
“The CMMTC is a testament to the tremendous partnership and collaborative effort that we feel when we work with Jamaica,” he said.
Minister MacKay pointed out that while the JDF has benefited from first class military training under various security programmes between the two countries, the CMMTC will have much broader implications. “Like ripples on water it will bring a lot of people here. This will be a Centre of Excellence. It will give Jamaica the tools necessary to reach out and partner with other armed forces across the region,” he said.
Head of the CMMTC, Lieutenant Commander Antoinette Wemyss-Gorman, explained that the creation of the centre came out to the need to provide new training options for officers.
She noted that “training opportunities from some of our external partners have been reduced, or modified in ways that may not necessarily fit our best use. In addition, our own doctrine, operational and technological realities have evolved and need to be constantly reviewed to ensure that optimal efficiencies are realized”.
“This centre will develop the training capacity of the region with its own Caribbean-centric focus for its forces… we will develop residential forces as well as mobile training teams to serve the region’s need for professional seamanship and naval training”, she informed.
The CMMTC will deliver professional maritime law enforcement and naval training in areas such as Naval Boarding Party; Bridge Watchkeeping; Ship Team Proficiency Training; Search and Rescue; Small Boat Specialist; Seamanship Course; Marine Engineering and Hull Maintenance Technician.
By Andrea Braham