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Florida National Guard Leads timely SHARP Interaction

Twenty- nine ranks of the Guyana Defence Force have recently benefitted from vigorous and informative discussions in a Subject Matter Expert Exchage (SMEE) which dealt with the issue of Sexual Harassment Assault , Response Prevention SHARP) facilitated by ranks of the Florida National Guard.

The SHARP session allowed for a frank and open exchange of dialogue on sexual and gender based issues

Captain Deon Heyligar , Officer Commanding of the Force Welfare Department   stated that the exchange was excellent in terms of the information communicated . She noted that the issue crossed all societal boundaries but pointed out that the issue of culture has a role to play. “For instance we discussed the matter of date rape drugs . Even though this is present in our culture , we would find that it is not as prevalent as the use of alcohol and marijuana,” she noted.

However, she said the topic was very pertinent as it related to the general well being of soldiers. “ When we come to the social and psycho-social issues , this creates the balance . The issues which plague society we have to deal with it here in the GDF as well , since it is from this very society we get out personnel. But here in the GDF we are grounded in discipline and so a session like this as well as other consequent follow-ups will results in behaviour change. We impose discipline in this organisation and foster good behaviour change,” she further explained.

In this regard, Captain Heyligar also alluded to the fact that the Force is made up of a primarily youthful population and so it was necessary for there to be clarifications as it related to misconceptions about sex.

The three day discussion was facilitated by FNG ranks Captain Melissa Schuster , Sergeant 1stClass Heather and Master Sergeant Mike Callahan.

The SHARP team agreed that the participants shared much with them and so the discussions were fruitful and beneficial to both sides. “ We were able to discuss ideas, experiences  and the GDF personnel helped  us to tailor the session to match their needs  and I think that this has set the stage for this kind of SMEE at the senior level,” Captain Schuster