Mon | May 22, 2017

Shipping industry saddened at the passing of Francis 'Paco' Kennedy

Published:Tuesday | October 28, 2014 | 10:00 AM
Kennedy

Members of the shipping industry have expressed sadness at the passing of past president of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) Francis 'Paco' Kennedy.

Kennedy served the SAJ as president from 1987-1988 and again in 1992. He is a second-generation Kennedy, who has served the SAJ; his father, Luis Frederick Kennedy, was a founding father of the association.

President of the SAJ Kim Clarke said Kennedy would "be remembered for his commitment to the development of the shipping industry."

"We will miss his wise, supportive counsel. He was a true nation builder who has left Jamaica better than he found it," Clarke added. "Our prayers are with his family at this time."

Fond memories

Several past presidents of the SAJ shared fond memories of the late 'Paco' Kennedy. Past president of the SAJ, Charles Johnston, said, "Paco was my competitor, my brother-in-law, but most of all, my friend. I will miss him tremendously."

Grantley Stephenson, who also served as president of the SAJ, said, "Jamaica has lost a champion. Paco's business acumen and commitment to nation building were at the centre of his accomplishments at both national and international levels.

"A true stalwart of the shipping industry, his disarming, yet immensely effective style formed part of an unquestionable legacy. He will be deeply missed," Stephenson added.

Michael Bernard, past president of the SAJ, remembers Kennedy as a patriot at heart who wanted the best for Jamaica. "He was a very astute businessman, manager, and director who was loyal to a fault. He was a very caring person who was able to balance his family life with love for all," Bernard said.

Member of the managing committee of the SAJ, Corah Ann Robertson Sylvester, described Kennedy as a man who was passionate about nation building. "The shipping industry and the business community of Jamaica have lost one of its finest contributors. He will truly be missed," Robertson Sylvester said.

Commenting on his management style, Joseph Lowe, member of the managing committee of the SAJ and former manager at GraceKennedy, remembers the late past president as being understanding, always making time to listen to his managers. "He believed in continuous education and ensured that his staff was regularly trained." Lowe said.

During his tenure at the helm of the SAJ, Kennedy served as chairman of the joint port committee on regulations and legislation and led a team of industry experts in developing strategies to make the Port of Kingston more efficient.

True diploma

A true diplomat, he led the association during a tense industrial relations climate, but his steadfast nature enabled him to negotiate with port workers and avoid a major lock-down of the port.

It was under his leadership that the weekly shipping industry feature, published in The Gleaner, commenced. This feature continues to provide information on developments in the local, regional, and international shipping industry. In this way, and many others, his influence will continue to live on.