JIS News

Jamaica was on (Nov. 23) elected to sit on the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which has been meeting in London this week.
Transport and Works Minister Mike Henry, who headed Jamaica’s delegation to the meeting, said Jamaica’s election to the Council was significant for the country. “It means that we have made another step forward in terms of areas that we are interested in seeing developed,” he told JIS News.
He noted further that, “It means new and fresh demand on us as we take on the wider area of responsibility as it relates to the whole area of the Caribbean and the importance of the protection of the environment, which was a key theme of the (IMO) meeting.”
The Transport Minister pledged to ensure that, “we live up to the possibilities in terms of expanding the ship registry and the work of the Maritime Authority and increase the involvement of the country and the Caribbean as a whole in the maritime industry. We need to make the wider community and public aware of the importance of the sea, the importance of what it produces and the economic benefit, which can accrue to us if properly handled.”
He gave credit to Jamaica’s team at the meeting, which included Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, Rear Admiral Peter Brady and Permanent Secretary, Dr. Alwyn Hayles.
Rear Admiral Brady also expressed pleasure at Jamaica’s successful bid for a set on the IMO Council, noting that the presence of the Minister at the meeting showed that the government is serious about maritime development.
“It shows that the government is serious about maritime development and the various interventions that the Minister made underscored how important it is for our economic development. It also shows that we are a responsible partner in the Caribbean and membership in this Council brings new responsibilities for us. We are a small country, but we have some respect at these international institutions and it augurs well for Jamaica,” he said.
In an earlier interview with JIS News, Minister Henry said it is important that the country is involved at the highest level of the international body.
“We are interested in the opportunities it (IMO) offers for the facilitation of investments and issues that relate to making our ports safe in line with all the rules and regulations, but if you are not involved at the point where all the rules and regulations are made, then you may end up inheriting things, which may be detrimental to your country,” he said.
He noted that, “if you are in at the beginning, you can predict, you can identify, you can isolate, you can promote and you can also advise the government of things and trends that are taking place, which are important.”
The IMO is the United Nations specialized agency responsible for maritime safety, security, and pollution prevention, while facilitating technical co-operation.
Some 40 member states hold positions in three different categories: A, B and C. Jamaica was elected to category C, which includes those countries that have special interest in maritime transport or navigation.
Election to the Council will ensure a more equitable representation of all major geographic regions of the world.

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