From left: Marine Services Manager/Habour Master at the BPI, Carl Gonsalves, Kyrell Millington, Michael Olton, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, and Principal of the SJPIT, Ian Drakes during the awards ceremony yesterday. (Photo Courtesy of MMABE)

“Give 100 percent every time, be focused, be honest…”, were some of the words of advice offered by Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, to Kyrell Millington and Michael Olton, who were yesterday recognised for their outstanding performances in maritime studies at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI).

Mr. Millington and Mr. Olton, who completed the Certificate in Maritime Operations, and the Diploma in Marine Diesel Engineering respectively, were each presented with the Minister’s award during a brief ceremony held at the Ministry’s offices at Charnocks, Christ Church. They will also be embarking on internships at the Barbados Port Inc. (BPI).

The awards ceremony is held annually to acknowledge the most outstanding students in that field of study.

Congratulating both gentlemen and their classmates, Minister Humphrey signaled his intention to have as many interested young persons trained in the area within the next few years.

Acknowledging the island’s history of seamen, he stated: “Barbados should be training about five to six times, in the beginning, the number of people [we’re currently training]. I feel very strongly that I should be able to go almost any place in Barbados and pick up almost anybody who has an interest in the ocean, regardless of their qualification, and at least introduce them to the ocean, and be able to train them to the point where those who want to stay will stay.

“I feel we have to make it open to more people to broaden the base, and to give people economic opportunities,” he added.

According to him, the industry held untapped economic potential that, when unlocked, could transform Barbados over the next few years, and young people needed to be prepared to take advantage of these opportunities when available.

To this end, Minister Humphrey disclosed his Ministry was working closely with the SJPI to develop a curriculum to meet the needs of the modern maritime industry, with the aim of equipping students to function anywhere in the world.

Principal of SJPI, Ian Drakes, said he was excited about the educational prospects that could be borne out of the institute’s partnership with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, noting that they would be working on training programmes specifically designed for seafarers.

Mr. Drakes also thanked the management of the BPI for continuing to provide internships and urged this year’s outstanding students to “grab the bull by the horns” as they embark on this new journey. Mr. Millington and Mr. Olton were also congratulated by Marine Services Manager and Habour Master at the Barbados Port Inc., Carl Gonsalves, who encouraged them to gain the practical knowledge necessary to excel in the maritime field.

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