For the second time in its history, the Belize Defence Force has promoted a woman to the rank of Major; the first being Jean Lucas over two decades ago. Roberta Usher was promoted to Major recently after being enlisted in the force for the past fifteen years. CEO Felix Enriquez noted to Love News that this is a milestone for the BDF and aligns with the recent Women, Peace and Security Agenda that was launched earlier this month.
Felix Enriquez, CEO in the Ministry of National Security: “We’ve come such a long way I think. Just recently the BDF promoted some very deserving women. Major Usher who is very deserving, we haven’t had a BDF female reach the rank of Major since Jean Lucas which is pretty much about twenty years ago perhaps or thereabout and it’s not because these women have not worked hard but there were certain positions that they would have to fill for example you must go and be a company commander, you must go and be an operations officer, things that were not offered to women for the mere reason that perhaps the thought process led to think that a woman would not fit well in that position and what we’re saying is well give them a chance to do it and if they do it then they should not be held back. And so that’s what the agenda is about and it’s no secret that there are several tasks that are more suited for women when you are in the security forces, dealing with other women in the civilian capacity for example which we are encountering a lot more and it’s to the benefit of the security forces to have women around because otherwise you would be limited in the way we deal with certain situations and of course at the decision making table the perspective that women have on certain things have been lacking in many cases and so the agenda seeks to fix those kinds of things.”
Major Usher has attended the United States Military Academy (West Point) and returned home in 2009 when she was newly commissioned as a lieutenant. Her military training is extensive and includes courses in Jamaica; Virginia (USA) as well as at the George Mason University where she earned a Master of Science in Technology Management. Three years ago Major Usher competed in the strongest woman competition where she topped the competition among her peers.