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CSA Flashback

CSA’s first meeting in Panama

The first meeting of the CSA in Panama was the 36th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in October (16th, 17th and 18th) 2006. Over 250 shipping executives from across the Caribbean and Latin American region attended what turned out to be one of the best conferences ever held by the Association.

Highlighting the three-day event was a visit to the Panama Canal. Conference participants actually had an opportunity to experience the locks on board a motor vessel.

The Panama Canal is regarded as the facility that has largely been responsible for the growth and expansion of the maritime sector of the Caribbean. The building of the Canal at the turn of the 20th century required a massive workforce, more than Panama could supply from its native population. Labourers therefore had to be brought in from other Caribbean territories. Many did not return home and were buried in Panama. Others stayed and lived in Panama and raised families there. In this regard, many countries of the region have historical ties to the Canal, in addition to the obvious economic links.

The 36th AGM in 2006 was special as it marked the moment when the CSA was able to acknowledge, in a tangible way, the pioneering role played by its Founding President, Peter Evelyn, and the sterling contribution to its development by its second and fifth Presidents, Michael Blackman and Ludlow ‘Luddy’ Stewart respectively. All three Past Presidents were made Honorary Members in Panama.

This was the meeting at which Fernando Rivera from Puerto Rico was elected the 14th President of the CSA and it was the final one presided over by the CSA’s first female President, Jamaica’s Corah Ann Robertson-Sylvester, then completing her third consecutive term in that office. It was also at this AGM that the CSA elected the Group B chairman, Carlos Urriola Tam, of Panama, as Vice President. Mr. Urriola went on to become the CSA’s 15th President.

The CSA returned to Panama in October (7th, 8th and 9th) 2013 for its 43rd Annual General Meeting, Conference and Exhibition with another Jamaican, Grantley Stephenson as President. Mr. Urriola, still on the Association’s General Council, was Immediate Past President and Past President Fernando Rivera as Acting General Manager.