First Lady advocates for greater inclusion of women in maritime industry

First Lady Arya Ali in the company of Professor Andrew Spencer, President of the Caribbean Maritime University and Dr. Geneive Brown Metzger, President of ACMF

“Now, imagine if we were to make more opportunities available to women in the maritime sector, how many of our challenges could be addressed – including crewing shortages,” she told a gathering of almost two hundred people which included executives from some of the largest shipping and cruise line companies in the Caribbean. With the global shipping industry suffering acute crewing shortages, particularly among officers, the First Lady said that this is the ideal time for companies and agencies to think about greater inclusion of women in the industry.

“Important in all of this is ensuring we create an environment in which women are identified and selected for career development opportunities in the maritime industry,” she said, adding that the Government of Guyana remains committed to supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women through gender specific fellowships and other opportunities. To this end, she highlighted an ongoing collaboration between the Office of the First Lady and the Atlantic Alliance Maritime and Offshore Training Institute – a 100% woman-owned Guyanese company – in which one hundred women from the hinterlands are being provided with scholarships for maritime training. Mrs Ali said that efforts like these must continue with support from partners like ACMF, which has since provided scholarships to forty-two Guyanese.

“…it would be remiss of me to not acknowledge the forty-two scholarships which have been provided to Guyanese through the Foundation for maritime training. As Guyana’s maritime sector continues to rapidly expand, these kinds of investments in local companies and in our human resource will prove to be invaluable to our nation’s development,” she said.

Mrs Ali also used the opportunity to urge players in the industry to reassess their individual and collective roles – both at the national and regional levels – and to rethink – as industry professionals, government officials, diplomats, experts, and even advocates – how they can build an industry that is more resilient, reliable and inclusive. The event was attended by a number of officials including President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley; President of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Professor Andrew Spencer; President of ACMF, Dr. Geneive Brown Metzger; and Director-General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, Rear Admiral Peter Brady among others