JIS News

Some 90 fisher folk from the parishes of Clarendon and St. Catherine have been equipped with new skills to enhance their livelihood, having benefited from a three-day training seminar on ‘Safe Seamanship and Environmental Management’.
The programme was funded and spearheaded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under its Jamaica Business Recovery Programme (JBRP). The training was carried out by the Caribbean Maritime Institute.
Minister of Agriculture Roger Clarke, in his address at the closing ceremony held on Wednesday (Nov. 2) at the Jamalco Sports Club in Halse Hall, Clarendon, expressed appreciation to the USAID for funding the training programme. He said it was of critical importance that persons engaged in the fishing trade be properly trained in basic safety and survival techniques, in addition to learning how to carry out the sustainable use of coastal and marine resources.
“Undoubtedly, this training will impact positively on the livelihood of these graduates by ensuring that the sector continues to be a reliable means of providing employment, increasing food security and fostering indirect economic activity in related industries,” he said.
Kevin Rushing, Deputy Mission Director at the USAID, informed that more than 200 fisher folk in the parishes of Clarendon, St. Catherine, Manchester and St. Elizabeth have benefitted from the training programme.
Valued at US$5.83 million, the JBRP is part of the USAID’s $1.6 billion Hurricane Ivan Recovery programme, which is helping thousands of Jamaicans rebuild their lives and become better prepared for future natural disasters. The recovery programme is being carried out under the theme: ‘Building Back Better’.
“Apart from repairing and rebuilding houses damaged or destroyed during the hurricane, repairing and re-supplying damaged schools and other public buildings and restoring businesses’ incomes and employment in agriculture, crafts and the fisheries sector, the Hurricane Ivan Recovery programme also has a very strong emphasis on hurricane preparedness and disaster mitigation,” Mr. Rushing informed.
He further pointed to an initiative being developed, where the JBRP is partnering with the government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Agriculture, and several non governmental organizations, to develop an island wide emergency response plan, which would also help fishermen to design their own risk reduction plan.
Compton Campbell, who spoke on behalf of the fisher folk, said that the training has been very beneficial to them.
“This is a day which makes us all proud.and we want to say thanks to all those who have assisted us. With this training, it has given us a new lease on life, a new understanding, a new beginning,” he said.
The fisher folk, who are from the communities of Hellshire and Old Harbour Bay in St. Catherine and Welcome Beach, Mitchell Town, Rocky Point and Portland Cottage, were trained in four modules namely Small Craft Operation, Basic Hygiene and Care of Catch, Safety and Survival, and Environmentally Sustainable Fishing.
They received certificates of participation and safety equipment including life jackets, first aid kits, flares (used to signal in times of danger or when necessary) and navigation equipment.