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New leaders

Shipping Association of Guyana has new leader

Desmond Sears elected chairman

SearsDesmond-01The Shipping Association of Guyana (SAG) has elected Desmond Sears as its new Chairman.

Mr. Sears and a new 10-member Managing Committee were elected at the SAG’s Annual General Meeting in Georgetown in October. He replaced former President Andrew Astwood, of the Guyana National Shipping Corporation (GNSC).

The new SAG chairman, who has had a long career in the shipping industry, is executive director of Delmur Shipping Company. After serving for several years in the international marketing division of the now defunct Bauxite Industry Development Company, he set up a private company to continue the export of Guyana’s bauxite ore to overseas markets. 

A familiar face in the corridors of regional shipping, Mr. Sears believes that Guyana must be made ready to meet the demands of shipowners and operators. He believes that, in order to promote national growth and development, emphasis must be placed on the development and maintenance of efficient and modern port facilities and ancillary services.

Modernisation plan

In taking over the helm as head of Guyana’s shipping association, Mr. Sears promised to continue advancing initiatives begun by the previous SAG executive to push for the setting up of a public-private partnership body. This group will be given a mandate to bring forward the modernisation plan for the Demerara Harbour and upgrading of the navigational channel. The modernisation plan, long advocated by the SAG, has become a matter of urgency for the Association, which has promised to step up its efforts to improve the capability and systems of the country’s main port facility.

New strategies for port security remain a major concern for Guyana’s shipping industry and the new SAG chairman has placed this at the top of his list of priorities. 

New SAJ president well prepared

Kim-Clarke-Dec-2012The new President of the Shipping Association of Jamaica brings to the post 22 years of shipping experience that has taken him from the pavement to the boardroom.

Kim Clarke, managing director of the Maritime and Transport Group of Companies, was elected President of the 73-year-old SAJ in November after serving as Vice President since November 2008. His immediate call was for unity among SAJ members, saying that “members must maintain unity in order to meet resolutely the demands of industry”.

Statement

Mr. Clarke’s charge, made in his acceptance statement, could have been an echo of his father’s words. The late Hylton Clarke, a member of the SAJ’s Managing Committee for 31 years until his passing in 2003, was chair of the Association’s Industrial Relations Committee, a portfolio the younger Clarke was to carry many years later. Hylton Clarke believed very little could be accomplished without unity of purpose and Kim’s reaffirmation of this was as timely as it was important. 

The new ‘ chose shipping. Perhaps inspired by his father’s business acumen and the steady growth of the Maritime and Transport Group of Companies, Kim Clarke opted to serve an apprenticeship under his father’s tutelage. He had a legacy to protect. After leaving the University of Miami with a Business Administration degree and following a short stint with Kirk Line, Kim Clarke headed for the Port of Kingston, where he learned the nuts-and-bolts of ship agency as well as the attendant functions and regulations. His classrooms were at shipside, in the hot warehouses and streets of Kingston port, and in the somewhat cooler boardroom of the MTS Group of Companies.

Opportunity

In 1992 he became a member of the SAJ’s Agents Committee, which gave him an early opportunity to develop and maintain an industry-wide perspective. This perspective, and his ability to learn fast, have served him in good stead.

Kim Clarke seems more than well prepared for his task to lead the oldest national shipping association in the region.