By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Eight Guyanese women pioneers in the local aviation industry were honoured on Wednesday night (October 9) for the exemplary role they played in developing the sector and as encouragement to other women who dared to enter the male dominated industry.
In light of this commemoration, two of the eight women – Cheryl Moore and Beverley Drake – who are in fact the first commercial pilots locally, grace the first three stamps of the inaugural women in aviation stamp series.
The other six honorees – Barbara Adams, Feriel Ally, Williette Gardener, Debbie Gouveia, Paula McAdam and Sandra Persaud -are expected to also have their own stamps as the series progress. This activity coincides with World Post day and with the 100 anniversary of aviation in Guyana.
Delivering the feature address at a ceremony held at Camp Ayangana, Georgetown to mark the occasion, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who has oversight for the local postal sector, congratulated the women personally for being bold enough to enter what was then ‘a man’s world’.
He urged men not to feel threatened by the involvement of women in sectors that were once dominated by men but to welcome the change in an effort to allow both gender to work together for the development of the country.
At the event there were also calls for the re-engineering of Guyana Airways so that the human resource in the local aviation industry can be put to work.
Their efforts in developing the sector were also recognized by Minister of Public Works and Transport Robeson Benn, who extended appreciation to the women in that regard.
“No country will not be fully developed and liberated unless women are liberated and Incorporated in areas or national development,” he added.
He said this is indeed the century for women since they have proven that they can do everything that a man can do.
Four of the eight women honored started their career in the Guyana Defense Force (GDF). According to newly appointed Army Chief Brigadier Mark Phillips, this is testimony to the force service being gender free. He said the force has always and continue to promote the development of females.
The honourees are:
Cheryl Moore – a recently retired pilot with LIAT. She received her training as a pilot at Embry Aeronautical University. Moore joined the Air Corps, Guyana Defense Force in 1977 where she flew the Britten Norman Islander. She was seconded to Guyana Airways in 1980.
Beverley Drake – her professional career in aviation spans over 37 years, dedicating 33 of those years to NTSB. As a military pilot in Guyana she flew the Britten Norman Islander. Her career continued at the Guyana Airways Corporation and as the pilot in command, she was the first woman to fly the Twin Otter and Hawker Siddley 748 on both national and international routes.
Barbara Adams – she attended the Oxford Air Training School in England. She graduated in 1977 and obtained a commercial pilot license in helicopters. She flew the Bell 206 and the Bell 212 helicopters on many missions with the President of Guyana.
Feriel Ally – just after high school she began her aviation career when she obtained her private license from the Guyana School of Aviation. She is fully qualified in aviation management and served many years as an aerodrome inspector at the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority. She also served as Deputy Manager of Airport Operations at the CJIA.
Williette Gardener – after graduating from high school she went to Cuba on a Government Scholarship to train as a pilot from 1976 to 1980. After qualifying she enlisted in the Guyana Defense Force as a pilot in air corps.
Debbie Gouveia – she graduated from the Flight Safety Academy in Vero Beach Florida and the Oxford Flight Training Academy in the UK. She earned her wings by flying all across Guyana and the Caribbean. She is the co-owner of Roraima Airways.
Paula McAdam – her career in aviation spans almost 40 years. She is currently the longest serving staff member of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority. During her career she archived many first for women in aviation. She became Guyana first female Air Traffic Controller when she was appointed in 1979.
Sandra Persaud – she joined the Air Traffic Controllers team in 1973 as one of the first female assistant Air Traffic Controller and went onto become an Air Traffic Controller. She served as the first female in aviation management at the CJIA.