IEEE Jamaica Section History
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Activities leading to the formation of an IEEE Jamaica Section started in 1971. A group of engineers decided it was necessary to continuously upgrade their technical knowledge by interacting with and subscribing to an established professional engineering organization. The choice was IEEE, hence Jamaica and the rest of the West Indies were deemed to be potential members of IEEE Region 9, due to their geographical location.
In August of 1972 publications in Spanish were sent to IEEE members in the West Indies by the Region 9 secretariat. Mr. Wilfred (Robbie) Roberts a member, wrote a letter to Ernesto Obregan, the then Region 9 Director stating that Jamaica’s national language was English and therefore publications and correspondence sent to members should be in English. This request received a very favourable response, in a letter dated September 22, 1972.
The formation of an IEEE Section in the West Indies was also strongly recommended by Region 9. The first meeting to discuss the matter was held November 27, 1972 at the Sheraton Kingston Hotel with local engineers and the director of Region 9 in attendance. At this meeting a local steering committee was formed primarily to plan for the proposed IEEE West Indies Section. The members of the steering committee were Wilfred A. Roberts, Ruel Samuels and S. A. Mullings. At a later date, H. Al Hall joined the committee.
A decision was taken to establish an IEEE Jamaica Section, instead of an IEEE West Indies Section by the steering committee because of difficulties experienced in attracting engineers from other parts of the West Indies as members. The steering committee also formed a Programmes and Planning Committee to facilitate the establishment of the Section. These decisions as well as other planned activities were incorporated in a press release on July 9, 1975.
On October 11, 1977, the steering committee submitted a petition to IEEE to establish IEEE Jamaica Section which was approved on October 24, 1977, by Luis R. Jimenez, who was the director of Region 9. On November 23, 1977, a Charter was granted and the Regional Activities Board approved the establishment of IEEE Jamaica Section on November 28, 1977. Al Hall was appointed as the Interim Charter Chair, and later appointed a Nominations Committee that recommended him as the first Chair of the Jamaica Section. The other Charter Officers were S.A Mullings, Vice Chair and Wilfred A. Roberts, Secretary/Treasurer. The grand inaugural meeting of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Jamaica Section was held on May 10, 1978.
Moving From Region 9 to Region 3.
Jamaica, now a member of Region 9, primarily because of its geographical location, was required to attend regional meetings in Spanish speaking countries, such as Chile and Argentina. This and the initial problem of the Jamaican membership receiving all IEEE correspondence in Spanish had to be addressed for effective communication. To resolve the problem, a request was made to change Jamaica from Region 9 to Region 3, which was the closest English-speaking Region.
Contributed by Wilfred A. Roberts and Dennis Hartley
Chapters & Affinity Groups
In November 2010, the Jamaica section establishes an Education Society Chapter.
A student branch was formed at the "University of the West Indies", Mona, Jamaica in May 2012.