JIEP Spotlight (September 2011)

In September's spotlight feature, we paid special tribute to another two of Jamaica's prominent environmental scientists who, regrettably, passed on in 2011.  They were, Dr. Claude Davis and Dr. Raymond Wright.  They have indeed left a combined body of work spanning generations; legacies we could not have left un-highlighted.

Dr. Claude Davis - in memoriam

Claude Davis

Dr. Claude Davis was an outstanding Jamaican, scientist, sportsman and human being. He was an avid supporter of JIEP and contributed enormously to the development of Environmental Standards in Jamaica. He assisted the JIEP in establishing its professional certification programme and delivered tutorials on air quality to the first cohort of applicants.

He attended Jamaica College (JC) from 1955-1961 and became Head Boy in 1961. Active in sports, he was goalkeeper of the 1961 Manning Cup and Olivier Shield Football championship team, of which he was captain, and only conceded three goals during the successful campaign. He went on to captain the Jamaica All Schools' Football team which toured Haiti and Puerto Rico in 1962. He was also captain of the JC cricket team and a member of the Jamaica All Schools cricket team which played against Barbados in 1961.

He taught briefly at JC before commencing his studies at UWI, where he was awarded first class honours in special chemistry, a Doctorate in Chemistry and a Diploma in Management Studies. He went on to be a Lecturer at UWI, where he supervised the first postgraduate degrees in Environmental chemistry awarded by UWI in 1978, long before the field enjoyed the present level of popularity.  He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Calgary, and part time Lecturer at the University of Toronto (U of T). He was also Visiting Professor in Environmental Management, UWI Centre for Environment and Development.

He was a Director of several organizations and in recent years, was Principal Consultant of Claude Davis and Associates, which he founded. In 2001, he was appointed a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Toronto for a three year term and was re-appointed for three successive terms. He was also Chair of the U of T University Affairs Board from 2006 - 2009. In 2010, Davis was honoured with a U of T Arbor Award established in 1989 to recognize alumni volunteers. In addition to completing the maximum nine years as a governing council government appointee and serving on the Affairs Board, he also served on the university's Business and Academic boards.

As a Scientist, Dr. Davis’s contribution to the development of Jamaica’s environmental legal framework was vast, and too much to relate here.  However, highlights include the development of Air Quality Standards and Environmental Regulations and Strategies for their Implementation; and draft stack emission standards and motor vehicle emission standards.  He also drafted the trade effluent and industrial sludge and sewage sludge regulations and standards for Jamaica; updated the hazardous waste management policy framework; and developed regulations in support of the phase out of leaded gasoline.

Claude leaves behind his wife, Marcia, sons Kevin and Dean, grandchildren, brothers and sisters.

Donovan Rose, JIEP Member


Dr. Raymond Wright - in memoriam

Raymond Wright

The late Dr. Raymond Wright could be described as a professional’s professional. In a lifetime of just over three score and ten, this Caribbean man accomplished feats in the world of science that would otherwise require several lifetimes.

As a teenager he received a distinction in the CSCE - Advanced Level Geology. He went on to further his education at Durham University (BSc), London University (MSc and MPhil) and Stanford University (PhD). By thirty-three he held the position of Commissioner of Mines and by thirity-nine he was a founding member and Director of Exploration at the newly formed Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, an entity for which he served until his passing. Over the next three decades his wide and strategic knowledge base and leadership in energy matters brought Jamaica into the renewable energy spotlight.

He delivered over 120 presentations and published papers at different settings mostly on energy, published two books on energy “Jamaica’s Energy, Old Prospects, New Resources” and “Energy, the New Agenda” and co-authored one on geology – “Biostratigraphy of Jamaica”. He was also a Lead Author on a special report “Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation”, published by the IPCC in April 2011.

He was consulted by many countries (including Jamaica, Nicaragua, Nepal, Norway, Netherlands several Caribbean nations) and international organizations (such as the UN, Commonwealth Secretariat, OAS, ECS) on petroleum matters.

He served as a member of many professional associations including the Geological Society of Jamaica, American Association of Petroleum Geologist and Jamaica Society of Scientists and Technologists. He also received many honours including the Commander the Order of Distinction from the Government of Jamaica (1989), the Chubb Awards for Excellence in the Geological Sciences (1993), Pioneer in Renewable Energy from the World Renewable Energy Congress (2002), the Inaugural CARICOM Science Award and Medal of Dedication to Developing the Areas of Earth Science (2006) and the Jamaican National Medal for Science and Technology (2008).

Amazingly, most of these achievements occurred while he was blind in one eye and then later lost sight in both eyes for the remaining 5 years before his passing. How did he do it?  Driven by purpose to change and impact his world he found ways and people who would help him to get around these otherwise devastating losses. His wife Dr Carmen Bowen-Wright, son Mathew, assistant Gina-lee Lawrence and driver Dwight became his eyes and ears while writing, presenting and travelling the world.   Dr. Wright would have much to boast about; however, he normally maintained a humble disposition, giving away information liberally and serving those who were also on their professional journey.

David Barrett, JIEP Member


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