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Guyana Ex-Police Association Of America Elects First Woman President After 56 Years

Photo credit: contributed.

Guyana Ex-Police Association Of America Elects First Woman President After 56 Years

By Frederick Halley
Staff Writer

NEW YORK CITY, New York (Monday, July 31, 2023) — “The glass ceiling has been broken!” That’s how the newly-elected president of the Guyana Ex-Police Association of America (GEPAOA) Inc, Gem Sampson, recently described her elevation to the prestigious post.

Fifty-six years after the formation of the Association, which is based in New York City, it is being led by a woman, and, for good measure, the First Vice-president is also a female — Joan Emmanuel.

Sampson replaces Irwin Daniels, who served in the position for the past four years.

In an interview with the Guyana Chronicle’s Sunday Pepperpot, an effervescent Sampson said she has no intention of sitting on her laurels and will immediately tackle what she describes as her main concerns, among them: reintroducing the scholarship fund, which became dormant a few years ago, since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Sampson, the fund assisted youngsters attending college and helped the Guyana Ex-Police Association at home in several ways.

Among her other priorities is managing the association’s building, which she said is managed by a special committee, since the association itself is a non-profit organisation, while the building doesn’t fall under that category. She pointed out that a meeting has already been planned for August 13, when matters pertaining to the management of the building will be ventilated.

Sampson, seen with her son, John, at the African Canadian Achievement Awards (ACAA) ceremony, in 2017, where he received the organisation’s award for Excellence in Community Service. Photo credit: ACAA.

The history-making president described the new executive committee as a “diverse group”, since it consists of a mixture of men and women, and she’s extremely pleased with its composition.

Sampson joined the Guyana Police Force in the late 60s and, while at the Police Training School, did a short stint at Operations Room, Brickdam, during the Christmas season, before returning to complete her training. She was then transferred to Force Control, where she spent most of her career, apart from a two-year stint at Linden, where she was Corporal in charge of the registry.

Back at Force Control, Sampson continued her journey in the force until she called it quits in 1978 and migrated to the USA the following year.

Expounding on her academic successes, Sampson said, “I went back to school, where I graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and a Master Degree in Social Work.” Following her achievements, Sampson was employed with the City of New York Children Services until her retirement in 2010.

Encouraged by her son, John, who was President of the Guyana Ex-Police Association of Canada (GEPAC) at the time, Sampson joined GEPAOA in 2012 and has been a member ever since. She previously served as Second Vice-president, Secretary on several committees and was the First Vice-president before the last Annual General Meeting.

Sampson comes from a heavy policing background. Her father Wilfred “Champ” Sampson retired as Sergeant, and her uncles: Oswald – Superintendent; Cecil – Sergeant; and Charles – Constable. Her son, John, who resides in Toronto, Canada, served as President of (GEPAC), despite never being a member of the force. He was elected based on the Constitution, allowing former members’ children to be part of the body.

Following a preliminary meeting by eight former members of the Guyana Police Force on March 25, 1967, GEPAOA was eventually established on April 16, the same year, with 22 ex-members attending its inaugural meeting.

On May 21 of that same year, a constitution was duly enacted and a Welfare Fund implemented.

The objective of GEPAOA is to foster good relations, fellowship and co-operation; to encourage cultural development and to provide mutual assistance to, and welfare of, its members and the community at large.

Apart from Sampson and Emmanuel, the other executive members are: Colin Griffith – Second Vice-president; Joan Bholo — Secretary; Victor Morrison — Treasurer; Simone Burkett-Rollins – Assistant Treasurer; Coleen Bholo-Dey – Welfare Officer/Chaplain; Irwin Daniels – Public Relations Officer; Shawn Alexander – Recording Secretary; Leon Gibbons – Parliamentarian; and Wayne Cummings – Sergeant-At-Arms.

Reprinted from the Guyana Chronicle newspaper.

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