A Message from Our Royal Patron
TRH the earl and countess of wessex visit the little cayman research centre 2016
Prince Edward is the Royal Patron of CCMI and was present at the groundbreaking of the Little Cayman Research Centre in 2003. At that time, he heralded a dedication that remains today: to sustain the biodiversity of coral reefs so that children of the world may forever discover the treasures of the sea.
He has previously visited the facility three times to check in on progress and the development of the various CCMI programmes, including the Ocean Literacy programme that he launched during his 2007 visit. The Ocean Literacy programme’s mandate is to ensure that “every child in the Cayman Islands is ocean literate by the time they are 12 years old.” To date over 1,000 children in the Cayman Islands have participated in CCMI’s residential programme, 368 last year alone and the organisation has recently launched an in-school workshop, reaching school children in their classrooms.
His Royal Highness spoke to the reasons why he was so interested in CCMI and their work: “Declining coral reefs pose urgent threats to society and indeed, to the economy of entire island nations. The Central Caribbean Marine Institute is one of the premier research institutes that is working to reduce this disastrous decline and to save coral reefs around the globe,” he said.
The success of CCMI’s science and research arm alongside its educational mission means that the facilities have been outgrown and accommodating both of these diverse groups is increasingly difficult. To overcome this challenge, Dr. Manfrino announced during the Royal visit CCMI’s intention to launch the Caribbean Ocean Science Academy (COSA).
Message from 2007-
A few years ago, when the Cayman Islands were celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1503, I was invited to dedicate the site for the new Little Cayman Research Centre. It was also my first introduction to the work of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute.
As we all stood around the plaque in shirts and ties on the beach, at the not-auspiciously named Bloody Bay, discussing the long-term survival of the coral reefs and the implications of the changing ocean chemistry, I was struck by how incongruous some royal engagements can be. As is often the case with discussions about our oceans, we were talking about something we couldn't see — the reefs being below the surface.
It is blatantly clear that a really excellent education centre for the explanation and interpretation of reef systems throughout the world — and especially the Cayman reefs — is greatly needed. The fact that it is tied to actual research and study into ways to improve and preserve the health of Little Cayman's unique environment makes the centre all the more relevant and truly special.
As Patron, I am delighted to support the CCMI's vision and plans for the creation of the Little Cayman Research Centre as a permanent field station for marine research and education. If it helps just a few of us to understand and appreciate the most important issues facing coral reefs today it may well benefit future generations. As the plaque on the beach at Bloody Bay states, "For the children of the world, so they may forever discover the treasures of the sea."
H.R.H. Prince Edward