FEBRUARY 2, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
The Women’s Army Corp (WAC) of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) yesterday
The gathering yesterday at the 45th Thanksgiving Service for the Women’s Army Corps. Third from left at front is First Lady, Deolatchmee Ramotar.
held a thanksgiving service to start off their celebration for their 45th anniversary.
The event was held at the auditorium at Base Camp Ayanganna, Thomas Lands.
First Lady, Deolatchmee Ramotar, in delivering her first official address as First Lady said women serving in the military provides the greatest form of public service; something that she feels passionately about.
She noted that the WAC has come a far way since its establishment in 1967 and said that this milestone must be used to remember and applaud the contributions of the past batches of female army officers, whose bravery and determination have withstand the test of time as well as to assess how women can continue to play an integral role in shaping the military in its mission to defend Guyana’s territorial integrity.
“Women must be a part of this defence; they must be an integral part of our armed forces. The military must aspire to give them gender balance and since the women form a significant segment of our population, increased participation in the military will lead to enhanced public interest in the armed forces,” the First Lady said.
The formation of the WAC arose from humble beginnings; inspired by the need to ensure an increased participation of women in national institutions, and was infused with grand ambition that was fired by the exuberance of an independent Guyana.
Ramotar recognised that the early recruits of the WAC were the forerunners of greater inclusion of women in all spheres including the disciplined services. “We should all be proud of those women who stood shoulder to shoulder…they demonstrated that our women do not have to settle for being second-rated, we have what it takes to make this.”
She urged the women not to sell themselves short as they are not second to any other and they are capable enough to achieve just as much as their male counterparts.
Ramotar also called on the female ranks to see themselves as role models and special mentors for potential recruits, as this would encourage more young women to pursue a career in the military. She also called on the management of the force to devise programmes that will help to expand the horizons and skills of women in the military.
Also on the occasion, Chief of Staff of the GDF, Commodore Gary Best, pointed out that as a body, the members of WAC continue to excel in areas such as medicine, accounting and finance, logistics, law, administration, and information technology.
He exhorted them to commit to greater involvement at the combat level. “I challenge the leadership of this body to look ahead into the future and have a vision of how the WAC should evolve. You must examine where you are, where you want to go and what you need to get there, you must produce a strategic plan for your vision,” Commodore Best said.
The WAC was also urged to enhance their image and collaborate with other women’s organisations. The Chief of Staff emphasised that, “your commitment to serve must include honesty, integrity, fearlessness, and selflessness.”
In the year of Guyana’s Independence, the GDF had barely established its first battalion of less than 500 men when it was forced to deploy troops to Eteringbang on the country’s western most frontiers to confront Venezuela’s aggression. The sudden removal of such a large number of men from such a small force resulted in a huge loss of manpower deficit. Soldiers had to be found quickly to secure the borders and others had to take their place in the camps. The GDF’s solution was to recruit women. The WAC was established in February 1967, with strength of 60 female ranks.