CARICOM W.I.S.E Awards Recognizes Six Outstanding Women

Six Caribbean women have received CARICOM Women in Sustainable Energy (W.I.S.E) Awards for their outstanding work in driving sustainable energy, energy efficiency, or low-carbon development initiatives across the region.

The winners of the 2nd CARICOM W.I.S.E Awards, which was organised by the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE), the CARICOM Secretariat, and the Caribbean Development Bank, were announced on Friday, April 26, during the last day of the 16th Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum in Miami, Florida. CARICOM W.I.S.E recognises women who are committed to the energy transition and have made significant contributions to their communities at national, regional, and international levels in public, private, and civil society sectors.

During CARICOM Energy Month 2023, which was celebrated last November, the public was invited to submit nominations for the CARICOM W.I.S.E Awards in five categories: Business Entrepreneurship and Finance; Social Impact, Community and Advocacy; Policy and Regulations; Utilities and Industry; and Youth Leadership. 

Dr. Ruth Potopsingh, retired Associate Vice President at the University of Technology, Jamaica, and former Group Managing Director at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) won the Policy and Regulation category. The Commonwealth Scholar was a founding member of the Jamaica Solar Energy Association and helped build the first commercial wind farm at Wigton. Rachel Sedacy, a Marketer and Business Consultant, won the Social Impact, Community, and Advocacy category for the work she has done over the years to develop and raise visibility about the sustainable energy sector in Belize. 

Purdy Gouveia received the CARICOM W.I.S.E Award in the category of Utilities and Industry for outstanding work in the development of the electric utilities of Trinidad and Tobago and Grand Cayman. Additionally, Minister for Climate Resilience, The Environment, and Renewable Energy, Kerryne James won the Youth Leadership category. Minister James, the youngest elected member of the Grenadian Parliament, was recognised for being instrumental in promoting sustainable development, advancing renewable energy solutions, and shaping impactful environmental policies. The final award category, Business, Entrepreneurship, and Finance, was presented to Angella Rainford, the founder of Soléco Energy and Rekamniar Frontier Ventures. The latter company co-developed one of the largest solar plants in the Caribbean and the largest in Jamaica.

Meanwhile, Dr. Indra Haraksingh, a Lecturer at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, was awarded the CARICOM W.I.S.E Lifetime Achievement Award during the event. She received this award in recognition of her dedication and hard work as one of the key figures involved in training and capacity building in renewable energy in the Caribbean region.

Cherri-Ann Farquharson, Capacity Development and Gender Expert at The CCREEE, lauded the trailblazing women for their exceptional leadership, innovation, and dedication to advancing sustainable energy practices, fostering resilience, and catalysing positive change in their communities.

Ms. Farquharson added, “By recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of these exceptional women, the Awards aim to inspire and empower more women to take up leadership roles in the sustainable energy sector and to promote a gender-inclusive energy transition. It is through this recognition and celebration of women's achievements that we can hope to create a more equitable and sustainable future for all.”