The 4th Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps (BMCC) Graduation Ceremony was held at the Spinnaker Restaurant on June 13. The 2013 Graduates were: Pedro Maycock of Forest Heights Academy; Johnson Auguste, Andrew Doute, and Oliver Forbes of S. C. Bootle High School; Mary Ann Fenelon, Nija Led, Yoba Wilson and Chester Davis of Abaco Central High School; and Devin Winder of Agape Christian High School.
After introductory items were completed, Programme Moderator and BMCC Instructor Kimberly Butterfield called on Cadet Pedro Maycock to share his experience throughout the maritime program, and its impact on his career decision. Maycock said that he when he first entered the program he was unsure of what maritime was, but as time went by he learned the parts of the ship, rules of the water, and navigation, and thoroughly enjoyed their field trips to the Duke of Topsail, Grand Bahama Shipyard and Albury’s Ferry.
Also bringing remarks was Former Cadet Shavado Smith, who congratulated the cadets on their graduation, and outlined the many careers in the maritime industry to them. As last year’s top student, Smith was awarded a $5,000-scholarship to Holland College in Canada.
“Every bit of hard work deserves a little payment with some leisure time, but it’s important to not get caught up with that fun; stay focused and remember your true purpose and your true goal,” he emphasized. “It’s easy to get caught up and get sidetracked, and that could mess up your entire future.
“I just want to encourage everyone that’s sitting here – all the maritime cadets – to pursue maritime. It’s a very lucrative industry, there are many things you can do with it, and there’s a lot of benefits.”
BMCC Abaco Coordinator Glender Knowles added that Smith is a determined young man, who survived a tragic car accident where three people perished, yet he continued his studies at the College of The Bahamas despite the psychological trauma he endured. In his second year in maritime, he broke his leg and still came back to continue his education adding to his commitment and credibility. He had the option of completing his sea time hours for 18 months, but he decided to begin his college studies first. However, Knowles said that maritime cadets like Tevon Strachan and Patiqua Thurston opted for their sea time first. She was also pleased to announce that the Duke is now hiring their cadets.
“That’s something that’s really motivating for us in even in our fourth year,” Knowles said.
Administrator Gregory Knowles was the next speaker in line. He was priviledged to attend the ceremony, and he commended the graduates for the fine work they have done and for the field they have chosen.
“You have chosen a field that I believe that you yourself will be happy and pleased about, and I see great opportunity and a privilege for you as you seek to advance in this particular area.”
Everyone was surprised to learn that he had acquired his B Class License, and that he, too, has a love for the sea. Knowles advised the graduates to never limit themselves, and to realize that success lies in how much they include God in their plans.
As he spoke, Knowles left the graduates with many principles to guide them including honesty and integrity and being trustworthy. Additional nuggets were to seek the wisdom of God as they plot their course on land and sea; to take the compass of life in case they go off course to help them find their way; and to take the map of hope for it will show them their destination.
Akeem Adderley sang a selection before Anthony Hanna, BMCC instructor, addressed the graduates as the keynote speaker. He gave an overview of the Cadet Corps program, and how he was one of three retired Defence Force marines, who was approached by Dudley Martinborough, BMCC coordinator, approximately 10 years ago to form the BMCC program.
Amazingly, there are more than 1,500 international ships registered under our flag, and as far as they were aware, there were no Bahamians aboard any of those ships. The premise was that if at least two Bahamians were employed by these ships, there would be 3,000 Bahamians employed.
“We have an unemployment problem; unemployment among the young people is at 34 percent, but if we were to employ 3,000 from those young people who are unemployed, imagine the dent we would put in that unemployment figure,” Hanna reasoned. “My thing is if they are flying our flag, shouldn’t we have some rights to work on those ships? Shouldn’t our young people be employed on those ships? So we did something about it, we created this [Bahamas] Maritime Cadet Corps.”
With the help of shipping vessels like Campbell Shipping, young people are working, and travelling over the world and being paid. He encouraged the graduates to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to them.
“Young people, you’ve been told to think out of the box, but I’m here to tell you there is no box. The world is open to you. What are you doing in the box in the first place? Get rid of the box, get rid of the notion of the box – there is no box. My challenge to you is to grab the world, put it in the palm of your hand and move.”
All of the cadets were awarded their graduation certificates and were given cheques for their participation in the program. In addition to his rewards, Pedro Maycock was recognized as the top student this year.