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Jamaican elected as Chair for the Caribbean-American Political Action Committee (CPAC)

Published:Monday | June 22, 2015 | 6:00 AM
Dr Downer

Jamaica-born Dr Goulda Downer has been elected as the first woman to lead the Caribbean-American Political Action Committee (C-PAC). Dr Downer is the third president of the organisation since its founding in November 2005.

A one of a kind organisation in the United States, C-PAC was formed to advance the political agenda of Caribbean-Americans currently residing in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, (Washington DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia). C-PAC's mission is to be the political voice of the metropolitan area's vibrant and growing Caribbean-American community.

To that end, C-PAC has endorsed and supported candidates for public office in the metropolitan area who articulate policy positions that will strengthen the economic, educational, social, and cultural conditions of individuals of Caribbean heritage residing in the area. C-PAC will also seek to foster greater relationships between the United States federal, state and local governments and Caribbean nations.

leadership positions

"We could not have elected a better chair. Dr Downer has served in several leadership positions within C-PAC," said Denys Vaughn Cook, former vice-chair who, together with Chris Gardiner and Elizabeth Stanley, founded C-PAC in 2005. "As advisory board chair and vice-chair for communications, she has provided invaluable leadership, is dynamic in her ability to network, and has the organisation's best interest at heart," Cook added.

"We are grateful to Ambassador Curtis Ward for his service to C-PAC over the past year, and we are confident that Dr Downer will initiate innovative ideas and programmes that will ensure the growth and longevity of C-PAC," said Chris Gardiner, inaugural C-PAC chair. Ward, the former Jamaican ambassador to the UN, and a founding member of C-PAC was tapped to lead the organisation following the resignation of Chris Gardiner in 2013. Gardiner had served as chair for the eight years following C-PAC's founding.

Dr Downer's dedication and vision will help build C-PAC into a strong political voice for Caribbean nationals within the DC, Maryland and Virginia regions. The outgoing board is very enthusiastic about where this organisation is, and where it will go in the years ahead. Under her leadership, C-PAC will continue to build the political voice for our organisation," Vaughn-Cook continued.

"I am honoured to take over the helm of this organisation," Dr Downer said. "C-PAC is in a strong position with a high-performing board of directors and a bold agenda. We will work to expand our membership base, strengthen our policy reputation and maintain the organisation's strong financial stability as we continue to be a powerful force in our region." The current executive board consists of vice-chair, Dr John George (Grenada); secretary, Yvonne Estime, Esq. (Haiti); vice-chair membership, Luigi LeBlanc (Haiti); treasurer, Roy Layne (Grenada) and vice-chair for communication, Deshawna Bernard (Trinidad & Tobago).