Three female stalwarts of the maritime industry were honoured by their peers at a recent fundraising dinner hosted by the Women in Maritime Association Caribbean (WiMAC).
They are Terminal Manager of Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL), Valerie Campbell; Deputy Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), Claudia Grant; and Commanding Officer of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard, Commodore Antonette Wemyss-Gorman. Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Jamaica National Liaison and President of the WiMAC local chapter, Nicole Wickham, said that the recognition is in keeping with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2019 theme ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’.
She noted that all three women have made significant contributions to the development of the maritime industry, both nationally and regionally, and are all key players in WiMAC.
She said that Valerie Campbell was the first Terminal Manager at KWL, and has asserted herself in the male-dominated field of port operations, becoming the first woman to serve in the capacity of Operations Manager of KWL in 2013.
“She has overall responsibility for the planning and execution of all activities for cargo movement through KWL’s terminals. An 18-year veteran of the shipping industry, she rose through the ranks of the Kingston Wharves group. She has served in various capacities, such as safety manager, security manager and claims manager,” she noted.
For Claudia Grant, Ms. Wickham told JIS News that the MAJ Deputy Director General has dedicated almost three decades to the maritime profession.
“She has served at the CARICOM Secretariat, where she oversaw the implementation of policies and projects for the sustainable development of maritime transportation in member states. She also spearheaded the establishment of the MAJ,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Grant’s experience covers the regulatory, policy and operational spheres. She successfully managed the project unit at the Ministry of Transport, where she was charged with the responsibility for developing systems, procedures and legislation for implementing the IMO Revised Convention Governing the Training and Certification of Seafarers.
She was also instrumental in the development of policies, systems and procedures for the establishment and operation of the Jamaica Ship Registry.
Meanwhile, Commodore Antonette Wemyss-Gorman enlisted in the JDF in 1992, where she was appointed the first seagoing female officer, rising through the ranks to become the first female commanding officer of the JDF Coast Guard. Ms. Wickham told JIS News that Commodore Wemyss-Gorman has served in the capacity of Deputy Director of Marine Transport at the Ministry of Transport through a secondment arrangement and also did a stint as second-in-command of the JDF Air Wing. She became the first female in the JDF to attain the rank of Commander in 2014 and also Commodore in 2019.
“She is the most senior-ranking servicewoman in the JDF and in the Commonwealth Caribbean and she commands one of the largest formations in the force with responsibility for the Maritime Air Cyber Command Operations,” Ms. Wickham noted.
WiMAC, which is the regional arm of the IMO women’s movement was launched in April 2015 with the participation of 14 Caribbean countries and is committed to increasing the performance, participation and contribution of women in the maritime sector.
Its objectives include promotion of the maritime sector as a viable career option; mentoring, motivating and empowering women in the sector; providing a forum for networking; fostering a Caribbean research agenda; and building a body of knowledge and best practices on the maritime sector.
The association hosts fundraising activities in keeping with its mandate. Part proceeds from the dinner, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, will aid in the construction of a library for the Rousseau Primary School in Kingston, which was adopted by WiMAC in 2017.