MIAMI — With an estimated 33,000 jobs to be generated in South Florida from the PortMiami/Panama Canal collaboration, the message from U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, (D-Fla.) to South Floridians is to get the necessary training or otherwise to secure a job, career, more business or otherwise benefit.
The congresswoman convened local and state leaders, Obama administration officials as well as top Panamanian officials at the port on July 15 to update community members on the progress of the canal expansion as well as related upgrades to PortMiami.
Among those present were His Excellency Mario E. Jaramillo, ambassador of the Republic of Panama to the United States; Rodolfo Sabonge, executive vice president of the Panama Canal Authority; the Hon. Francisco Sanchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce; Bill Johnson, director, PortMiami; and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
The congressional symposium examined what business and government leaders can do to maximize the positive impact of the developments on the region’s economy.
In addition to panel discussions, the event served as a ceremonial launch for a series of upgrades to PortMiami, including a new rail link to connect the port to the nation’s rail system, a new interstate traffic tunnel, and a 50-foot-deep harbor dredge to accommodate new “Post-Panamax” mega-cargo ships.
The American officials exchanged flags with the Panamanian ambassador. Wilson presented a flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol, to fly over PortMiami.
Wilson also paused that day to express heartbreak and disappointment over the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial regarding his killing of Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin.
Surrounded by young boys who are part of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project that she started 20 years ago, Wilson talked about her fear for the young boys in the mentoring and scholarship program for at-risk boys, and called for an end to racial profiling.
*TOUTING OPPORTUNITY: From right, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Ambassador of the Republic of Panama Mario E. Jaramillo, Panama Canal Authority Executive Vice President Rodolfo Sabonge, U.S. Department of Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sanchez, and PortMiami director Bill Johnson.