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WLI hails appointment of 'Sister Chief' Wemyss-Gorman - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
All Woman

WLI hails appointment of 'Sister Chief' Wemyss-Gorman

THE Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) of the United Way of Jamaica has hailed the appointment of their member, Commodore Antonette Wemyss-Gorman, as the incoming Chief of Defence Staff (CDF) of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) effective January 2021.

Renee Menzies McCallum, chair of the WLI, said, “the sisters in the WLI are extremely proud of our 'Sister Chief'. We have been privileged to be close onlookers of her steady progress over the past several years and know that she is up to the task of CDF.

“Even before she joined the WLI, our group was honoured to have Commodore Wemyss-Gorman accept our leadership award in 2015, when she was among nine distinguished women in Jamaica celebrated as “trailblazers providing inspiration for others to follow”.

Apart from her many achievements in her professional career Cdr Wemyss-Gorman believes in contributing back to society by delivering motivational lectures to various groups and actively supports golden-agers and bed-ridden persons in the town of Port Royal by facilitating regular medical checks, assisting in their mobility and health-care expenses. She is also a sponsor of the Port Royal Primary School and a mentor to teenage girls in her home district of Top Alston, Clarendon.

She has been a valued active member of the WLI since 2015.

The WLI, a special committee of the United Way of Jamaica launched in 2004 by then US Ambassador to Jamaica Sue Cobb, promotes sisterhood and the advancement of women, providing mentorship, scholarships and support for marginalised communities. WLI fund-raising efforts benefit the Voluntary Organisation for the Upliftment of Children (VOUCH), the WLI's mentorship and scholarship programmes, and their education and training and sensitisation programme aimed at ending child sexual abuse.

Commodore Wemyss-Gorman enlisted in the Jamaica Defence Force in August 1992, completed her initial officer training at the Britannia Royal Naval College in the United Kingdom in March 1994, and was posted to the JDF Coast Guard as the first sea-going female officer to serve at the unit. With this, the JDF then became the first defence force in the Caribbean to have women serving on the front line.

She served as navigating officer onboard HMJS PAUL BOGLE from 1994 to 1997 and in January 1998 she was seconded to the Ministry of Transport and Works for two years where she was appointed deputy director of marine transport.

She has commanded various classes of vessels at the JDF Coast Guard and held a number of other appointments including operations officer and officer commanding shore base, second in command of the JDF Air Wing and is the current commanding officer of the JDF Coast Guard — the first female to attain the rank of commander (lieutenant colonel) in the JDF and to command a unit. Today there are four female officers serving at the JDF Coast Guard who have held appointments on board a ship. They have joined a growing percentage of women serving at sea in the armed forces.

Wemyss-Gorman, a distinguished graduate of the US Naval War College, holds a Master of Science degree with distinction in national security and strategic studies from The University of the West Indies, and has presided over the establishment of the Caribbean Military Maritime Training Centre which provides maritime law enforcement training to the Caribbean region.

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