Trailblazing - Ann-Marie Williams Print E-mail
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Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00

This week Trailblazer Tuesday features a very familiar face; Ms. Ann-Marie Williams.

Ann-Marie Williams will forever be remembered as the intrepid journalist who first exposed Belize’s biggest Immigration/Passport Scandal in 2002 and won her and Channel 5 a Caribbean Broadcasting Union Award (CBU) for Best Investigative Journalism.

The first girl and the middle child of six children, it seems journalism was a natural progression for Ann-Marie. She started working as a young announcer at 17 years old at the lone Radio Station at the time, Radio Belize. She was a quick study and had a meteoric rise in broadcasting having received training to read the major newscasts less than six months on the job. She also produced several programs, among them Women’s World and Fun Time.

In 1988 she was the first to win the Edison Coleman Award for Best Program Production. She completed a Diploma in Mass Communications/Journalism (First Class Hons) from CARIMAC at UWI and went on to do excellent work in Radio, TV and Print. Ann-Marie was among the first set of news anchors who read the nightly news on Channel 3, at Radio Belize and then at Channel 5, in addition to covering the beat. In 2003, she also edited the weekly Reporter Newspaper and broke several stories in the process. A woman of many talents and firsts, she started the newscast on KREM Radio in 1995 where she single-handedly gathered, wrote and read the news for a year.

While she feels that journalism is the best career, she never did her post graduate studies in that area. Instead, Ann-Marie pursued her other love—women ‘s advancement. She graduated from the prestigious Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the UK in 2000 with a Master’s Degree in Gender and Development. She returned home, went back to Channel 5 to continue her investigative work and in 2002 she blew the Immigration/Passport Scandal, story straight out of the water.

In 2008 she took up her other passion. She became the first Executive Director of the National Women’s Commission (NWC). Williams turned around the work and profile of the NWC. Her leadership at the policy advisory body to GOB on issues affecting women brought about the first of its kind Women in Politics Project which has trained 98 women for politics with incremental success. In 2011, she was the first Belizean to receive the Women in Public Service Award (the Hillary Clinton Award) as part of a group of 50 women from among 250 nominated by former U.S. Ambassador to Belize, Vinai Thummalapally.

Williams serves both the YWCA and Partners of the Americas as a board member. She holds fast her Methodist faith and serves her Church in many capacities. This divorced mother of a U.S. Marine would like to be remembered as someone who always gave her very best, without fear or favour.