NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Two students of the LJM Maritime Academy received scholarships from Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) on Friday.
The duo, Shante Pearson and Tre’von Ferguson, received their awards on board the Symphony of The Seas – the largest in the cruise line’s fleet.
Gregory Purdy, Senior Vice President of RCCL Marine Operations said the cruise company is not only interested in bringing thousands of tourists to the country annually, but it is also interested in the development of the country’s community as well. He said this is the reason that RCCL has extended its financial support to fund the educational pursuits of two maritime students.
“I remember fondly being at sea and the thing you remember most are the people so we need really high-quality people with like minds who want to pursue careers at sea and in order to do that, well they need to have a quality education and we are here to support that in the best way that we can,” Purdy said.
While Purdy shied away from revealing the dollar value of the scholarships, he underscored that the donation is an invaluable one.
“We feel that everyone should have the chance to be a part of this industry. For those who are willing to become mariners, it allows you to see the world and it also provides you with the opportunity to be leaders,” he said.
Purdy said RCCL’s commitment to the country is a long term one.
“The Bahamas is the country’s most visited by our guests so we see this as a very important destination and we see that there is a need to help with the country’s economic growth and we see where we are able to help and the one thing that we need in the cruise industry now is good people and we see that quality here,” he said.
While RCCL has provided scholarships to two budding mariners, executives at LJM have revealed to Eyewitness News Online that the academy is in dire need of more financial contributions as well.
While the executive arm of the academy has commended the international cruise line for its contribution, they have also sounded the alarm that the educational institution – which is a non-profit entity – needs monetary donations to remain operational.
“We need help, we need partners and sponsors in order to keep the doors open. That has been a great challenge for us,” said Brendamae Cleare, President of the LJM Maritime Academy.
“When you think of a specialized school as this the numbers have not grown as yet and we need the numbers to keep it going.
“The more people hear about the academy the more people will know and become interested.
She continued, “If the government can assist us financially with probably operating costs it would be a great help.”