The Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) will commence its offering of a bachelor of science degree (BSc) in customs processes and immigration this May.

This is in keeping with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by CMI, Jamaica Customs Department and three customs brokerage associations – the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association of Jamaica (CBFFAJ), Caribbean Customs Brokers Association and the Jamaica Society of Customs Brokers (JSCB).

The MoU was inked last October during the 40th annual general meeting and conference of the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA). The course was developed on the recommendation of Roger Hinds, president of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ).

Designed in collaboration with members of the industry, including the signatories to the MoU and the Port Authority of Jamaica – immigration and quarantine departments, the programme is tailored to meet the needs of the shipping industry. It covers border protection for both air and sea, and addresses the global needs of international trade. “It will be the platform for entry and progress in the industry,” the CMI said.

Specialised nature

Hinds said he was elated that the course was designed and is now ready for offering in such a short period. “The reality is, this industry needs individuals who understand the intricacies of its operations. This new degree programme has been designed to prepare graduates to move from the classroom to the ports of entry,” Hinds said.

Fritz Pinnock, executive director of CMI said, “The CMI brands itself as producing industry-ready graduates. We are working with the industry to find out what the needs are to design programmes to meet these needs.”

He pointed out that the BSc in customs processes and Immigration was developed due to the specialised nature of the shipping industry.

“I want to salute the key drivers – president of the SAJ, Roger Hinds; Commissioner of Customs Danville Walker; chief executive officer of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, Jennifer McDonald; president of the CBFFAJ, Donovan Wignal, and president of the JSCB, Junior Waugh.

The new degree programme underpins the CMI’s Blue Ocean Strategy of producing industry-ready, disciplined graduates, as well as working in partnership with the industry to ensure courses are relevant and lead to clearly defined career pathways that are in demand.

Two entry requirements have been designed for applicants. Individuals new to the industry must have attained at least five subjects at the Caribbean Secondary School Examination or General Certificate of Examination level, inclusive of English language. Option two is designed for individuals who have at least three years experience at a supervisory level in the industry.

The CMI is now accepting applications. Registration begins on May 2. Classes are scheduled for Monday-Thursday 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Plans are in place to extend the course to Montego Bay by September, with registration commencing in July.

The course has been endorsed by the CSA, the US Customs and Border Protection, and Caricom/United Nations’ 1540 resolution.