NLA and JDF Sign MOU for Hydrographic Surveys of Jamaicas Seabed

Story Highlights The National Land Agency (NLA) and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will facilitate hydrographic surveys of the seabed in the country’s territorial waters. The National Land Agency (NLA) and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will facilitate hydrographic surveys of the seabed in the country’s territorial waters.This exercise will be conducted using a vessel from the JDF Coast Guard’s fleet.The agreement will be executed under the auspices of the National Hydrographic Committee (NHC), which is chaired by Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), Rear Admiral Peter Brady.Under the MOU, the JDF is providing a vessel for the mounting of hydrographic survey equipment, provided by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) through the Commonwealth Marine Economics Programme, to facilitate the underwater surveys by the NLA.Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Acting Senior Director of Surveys at the NLA, Major Patrick Aiken, who indicated that the agency conducts surveys of land above and under water, said the outcome of the exercise being embarked on can be used for numerous activities such as in determining accuracy during a dredging exercise.“We can use it for the purpose of getting the elevation of the seabed so that dredging can be done to allow deep-hull ships to enter the harbour without being stuck in mud or silt. After the dredging is completed, we would again survey the ocean floor to see that we have achieved the desired depth,” he further outlined.The NHC which is the government-appointed committee dealing with hydrography and maritime spatial data, is tasked with coordinating the discharge of Jamaica’s responsibility under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention.It places particular focus on the regulation that requires a member State to facilitate hydrographic services and ensure that nautical charts are kept up to date in order to ensure safe navigation.Rear Admiral Brady told JIS News that the survey process had already begun. “In the last two years, Jamaica embarked on the updating of the hydrographic charts in key maritime developmental areas to better facilitate coastal navigation marine infrastructural works and other marine activities, through assistance from the UK Government” he said.Rear Admiral Brady noted that while shipping around Jamaica has increased over the years, with larger vessels, increased water levels and greater depths, the country’s nautical charts are over 40 years old, adding that current data is needed for efficiency.“Having modern surveys will make Jamaica more attractive and will make ship navigators confident to enter Jamaican waters, and at the same time provide key information for potential investors in commodities such as marine oil and gas,” he added.The NHC is a Committee of the National Council on Ocean and Coastal Zone Management (NCOCZM), a Cabinet subcommittee that is Chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon Kamina Johnson Smith.Its membership comprises representatives of the Port Authority of Jamaica; National Land Agency; NCOCZM; University of the West Indies Marine Lab; JDF Coast Guard; the Fisheries Division; University of Technology, Jamaica; Caribbean Maritime University and the Maritime Authority of Jamaica.The UKHO has been in Jamaica for the past three weeks conducting hydrography training. This will develop Jamaica’s capability to conduct its own hydrographic surveying. This exercise will be conducted using a vessel from the JDF Coast Guard’s fleet. The agreement will be executed under the auspices of the National Hydrographic Committee (NHC), which is chaired by Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), Rear Admiral Peter Brady. read more

Government Confident in AntiCorruption Framework to Build Transparent Institutions

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says he is confident in the established anti-corruption framework aimed at deterring corruption.The Prime Minister says the country’s independence mission, is to ensure the building of institutions that are open to scrutiny and accountability.Prime Minister Holness made the statement during his National Independence Message.“I am confident that with the anti-corruption framework we have created and the institutions we have built to implement it, Jamaica will see appreciable improvement not only in the perception of corruption but in the deterrence of corruption and the detection, investigation, and prosecution of corrupt acts,” said Prime Minister Holness.In that regard, the Prime Minister stated that his administration has taken decisive steps at the governance level to, create a robust anti-corruption framework in which corruption cannot flourish.“At the governance level, we have developed and are about to implement a new system for the nomination, selection, and appointment of board members of public bodies. This will ensure that only fit and proper persons with the best skills are allowed to guide our public bodies. At the investigative level, we have just completed the legislative process to give MOCA its administrative and operational independence,” the Prime Minister stated.Prime Minister Holness underscored that the Government continues to provide the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) with the resources to build out their capacity to thoroughly investigate and build strong cases for prosecution.MOCA now has more than 300 cases either before the court or in advance stages.In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness noted the administration’s passing of the Integrity Commission Act and the new campaign financing regulations.“This administration passed the Integrity Commission Act and established the Integrity Commission which is now in the process of developing its new institutional structures. We have passed the new campaign financing regulations, that gives effect to the law to ensure that our democracy is not captured by special interests and that corrupt interest does not influence government decisions,” stated Prime Minster.In addition, the Prime Minister noted that the Government has acted to separate accused individuals from institutions to create the space necessary for investigations and discovery. He noted that the Government has identified and is making changes to systemic weaknesses in the anti-corruption apparatus. They have also facilitated the work of the independent investigative and oversight bodies to deter cover-ups.According to Prime Minister Holness, the anti-corruption framework is working, even though it is in its early stages and will require more time and resources to become more effective. Story Highlights “I am confident that with the anti-corruption framework we have created and the institutions we have built to implement it, Jamaica will see appreciable improvement not only in the perception of corruption but in the deterrence of corruption and the detection, investigation, and prosecution of corrupt acts,” said Prime Minister Holness. Prime Minister Andrew Holness says he is confident in the established anti-corruption framework aimed at deterring corruption. The Prime Minister says the country’s independence mission, is to ensure the building of institutions that are open to scrutiny and accountability. read more

Outgoing IMF Mission Chief Says Jamaica Can Manage Its Economic Affairs

Outgoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Chief to Jamaica, Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, says she is confident the country can manage its economic affairs, following the conclusion of IMF programme arrangements in November. The Mission Chief was responding to questions from journalists during a media round-table forum at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service in Kingston, on September 20. Story Highlights “Without a doubt, we are able to leave with full confidence that the institutional and policy framework is in place… and the policy credibility is there for Jamaica to carry on its own affairs,” she said. Outgoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Chief to Jamaica, Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, says she is confident the country can manage its economic affairs, following the conclusion of IMF programme arrangements in November.“Without a doubt, we are able to leave with full confidence that the institutional and policy framework is in place… and the policy credibility is there for Jamaica to carry on its own affairs,” she said.The Mission Chief was responding to questions from journalists during a media round-table forum at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service in Kingston, on September 20.Dr. Ramakrishnan, who was appointed Mission Chief in 2015, described her tenure as “a very intense, productive, and constructive engagement” during which “I had the privilege to work across two Administrations”.Dr. Ramakrishnan also noted that on each occasion of the team’s visits to either conduct programme reviews or undertake related activities, “we would always engage with the Opposition, whether it was under the previous or current Administration”.“The Opposition has always been part of the [dialogue] that we have had to discuss policies, to talk about issues, to talk about their concerns… and we have been doing that across every single visit I have made to Jamaica,” she noted.Dr. Ramakrishnan said consequent on these engagements, “one thing I can take and walk away from this with great confidence is the commitment across the board to keep the policy credibility that Jamaica and the Jamaican people have worked so hard to achieve”.She emphasised the importance of maintaining and enhancing the policy progress recorded over the last six years, initially under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and the successor precautionary Stand-By Arrangement, in order to ensure that future generations, like the present, can benefit.“For me, it has been an absolute joy, privilege and honour to have worked here for four years and three months,” Dr. Ramakrishnan said.For his part, Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, who also spoke at the forum, described Dr. Ramakrishnan as “someone who has always had Jamaica’s best interest at heart”. read more