New LeaderSHIP for Women in Maritime Association Caribbean (WiMAC)
Trelawny, Jamaica, Monday 16th October 2023: The Women in Maritime Association Caribbean (WiMAC) conducted a Regional Conference and 6th Annual General Meeting under the theme, “Navigating Horizons: Mobilizing Stronger Networks for Caribbean Women towards a Sustainable Maritime Industry.” This dynamic, empowering and informative conference brought together members affectionately called SEAsters from approximately 15 countries across the Caribbean. It was held from the 3rd – 5th October 2023, at the Conference Centre of Ocean Coral Spring Hotel, Trelawny, Jamaica.
Incoming WiMAC President Dr. Evette Smith Johnson commented “the Caribbean Sea isn’t what separates us, it is what binds us together, we will grow as SEAsters, from strength to strength.”
The newly elected WiMAC Governing Council consists of the President – Dr. Evette Smith Johnson (Jamaica), Immediate Past President – Mrs. Tamara Lowe- James (Dominica), Vice President, Research and Development- Ms. Suzette Balkaran (Trinidad and Tobago), Director of Finance -Ms. Ilaisa Lila (Suriname), Vice President, Public Relations and Marketing - Mrs. Tricia King (St. Kitts and Nevis), Vice President, Membership- Ms. Abigail Bryan (Jamaica), Member-At-Large, - Ms. Carlita Benjamin ( Dominica ), Director of Corporate Affairs- Ms. Raquel Forbes (Jamaica), Vice President, Women and Development –Mrs. Katina Benn (Guyana), and the Operations Manager – Ms Valerie Simpson (Jamaica).
The WiMAC Conference hosted 80 participants including the newly launched (28th September – World Maritime Day) Student Chapter at the Caribbean Maritime University, Jamaica. The members only Annual General Meeting had representatives from: Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Curacao, Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The keynote speaker was Mrs. Eva Lewis, Director of Citi Jamaica and a St. Lucia national. She challenged a captivated audience to redefine “Network” focusing on purposefulness, the value of mentorship and being vulnerable. It was awe-inspiring and empowering.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has facilitated the creation of professional networks to improve gender balance in the shipping industry. Under IMO’s auspices, eight WIMAs have been established including WiMAC. The Maritime Authority Jamaica hosted the 2023 WiMAC Conference and AGM.