Jamaican nationals have recorded a remarkable achievement at the International Trade Centre (ITC), located in Geneva, Switzerland. United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres last week announced that he had appointed Jamaican national Mrs Pamela Coke-Hamilton as ITC executive director. Her appointment will be initially for three years.
What makes this appointment particularly remarkable is that Mrs Coke Hamilton will be the second Jamaican woman in 14 years to head the centre. The first was Mrs Patricia Francis, 2006-2013, who was actually the first woman to hold this post since the ITC was established in 1967.
Making this appointment also notable is the fact that Mrs Coke Hamilton will be the third woman in succession to head this body. She replaces Ms Arancha González of Spain, who was executive director between 2013 and 2020. The acting executive director is also female, Dorothy Tembo of Zambia, who was previously the deputy executive director from 2014. This female dominance at the top of a non-gender-based international organisation must be rare.
I would not be surprised if a poll were to show that many people in Jamaica and, indeed, the Caribbean, are not aware of the ITC and its work, in spite of a Jamaican having previously held this post.
WHAT IS THE ITC?
The ITC succeeded the International Trade Information Centre, which was established by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1964, when its focus was on integrating the increasing number of developing countries into the global