PM Skerrit presents Cleopatra Doumbia Henry as Dominica’s candidate for IMO Secretary-General


Dominica: Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit felt pleased to present Cleopatra Doumbia Henry as the candidate for the Commonwealth of Dominica for the post of Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation. The candidate was presented during a reception at the IMO Delegates Lounge, London, on Monday, June 5.

Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry is an accomplished legal scholar and the current President of the World Maritime University. With extensive experience in international civil service and expertise in labour law, maritime law, and human rights, she has made significant contributions to the maritime industry and the international community.


While presenting Cleopatra as the candidate, PM Roosevelt Skerrit said that Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, a woman of integrity, is a towering presence in the Maritime world who has created a legacy of visionary and transformative leadership defined by excellence, action, and compassion.

The Dominican prime minister also shed light on Cleopatra Doumbia Henry’s career, which began in the 1980s. He said that she started her career at the International Labor Organization in the 1980s and worked across various units within the organization, culminating with her leadership of the Standards Department.

She led the successful implementation of the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 (MLC 2006) and oversaw the amendment of three (3) conventions and more than 68 International Labour Standards. This led to the adoption and ratification of MLC 2006 by over 97 countries representing over 91% of the world’s gross tonnage of ships.

While appreciating her, PM Skerrit added that Dr Henry’s visionary, inclusive and transformative leadership continued at the World Maritime University. During her eight-year tenure, the University’s endowment fund more than doubled, ensuring its financial viability and sustainability.

He added that the Commonwealth of Dominica had nominated Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry for the position of Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation. While showing his confidence in her, PM Skerrit added that her wealth of knowledge, experience, expertise, wide network, diplomatic acumen and transformative leadership is exactly what the International Maritime Organisation needs at this time to strengthen it into an agile, adaptable, resilient and sustainable body.

While asking everyone to support her, the PM added, “Dr Doumbia-Henry has demonstrated that she can deliver and is ready to take up the mantle as the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation. Let us make history by electing her as the first female and the first person from a developing country for this position. We are counting on your support.”


Several prominent personalities, including Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Denzil Douglas, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Dominica Vince Henderson and other leaders from around the Commonwealth participated in the reception in London to show their support towards Cleopatra Doumbia Henry.

Dominican Minister Vince Henderson also appreciated Dr Doumbia-Henry and said that her candidacy for Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation presents another opportunity for her to bring her visionary and inclusive leadership in front of international leaders.

He added that under her leadership, the IMP will be able to tackle today’s critical issues of climate change, which all the small island nations are fighting against.

Minister Henderson outlined that she is undoubtedly the right choice for the position of Secretary-General of the IMO and added, “The Commonwealth of Dominica is counting on your support.”

Meanwhile, Cleopatra Doumbia Henry also highlighted her approach during the reception on May 5. She said she would foster an inclusive approach at the IMO, facilitating discussions with Member States, observer delegations, stakeholders, academia, civil society and the secretariat.

She added that she would seek collaboration with other international organizations such as the ITF, ICS, UN, ILO and FAO. Furthermore, Dr Henry will work to elevate the profile of the IMO on the global stage, highlighting its crucial role in shaping the future of the maritime sector.

Not only this, but she will also engage the public through comprehensive information campaigns, highlighting the IMO’s successes in promoting shipping as a responsible, safe, efficient, and sustainable mode of transport for global trade.

Her other approaches included:

  • Emphasizing the importance of technical cooperation programmes to improve compliance
  • Implementation of IMO Conventions among member States by advocating for the development of innovative ideas to secure funding for these programmes

This year, seven IMO Member States have nominated a candidate for the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) post. The elections for the post will be held on July 18, 2023, following which the next Secretary-General will be appointed.

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