Chief Magistrate and Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Colonel Ann Mc Lennan officially retires today after a combined 37 years and nine months of service. She is a graduate of the Standard Officers’ Course 17.
Colonel McLennan was fortunate to have been afforded the privilege, at a time when few Officers were pursuing academics, to read for a law degree both at the University of Guyana and the Caribbean.
She was admitted to the Bar in Guyana in 1996 after gaining her Bachelor of Laws Degree (Hons) from the UWI (Cave Hill Campus, 1994), a Legal Education Certificate from the Sir Hugh Wooding Law School, Trinidad (1996) and a Post Graduate Certificate in Diplomacy from the University of Guyana.
She then returned to the Force and went on to hold several appointments, including Trainee Welfare Officer, Admin Officer Ground Forces Group, Personal Assistant to the Force Commander, Commanding Officer of Medical Corps and Legal Services Department, Staff Officer 2 within the G1 Branch and Staff Officer to the Chief-of-Staff.
In 2007, enthusiastic to expand her legal career and to give further service to her country, permission was granted for her to be seconded to the Judiciary to sit as a Magistrate in the Georgetown Magisterial District. She was later appointed Chief Magistrate in 2015.
At a recent cocktail reception held in her honour, Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan congratulated Colonel McLennan for her strong and dedicated service to her country.
Colonel Mc Lennan recollected her years as an Officer, still delighted by her decision to enlist.
“ I thank God for bringing me through the rigours of the Standard Officer Course 17 and, further, for allowing me to stand here today 37 years and nine months later a satisfied Officer, fulfilled and happy that the Military career choice that I made back then in 1985, as a teenager was an excellent choice, and if I had to do it all again, I cannot think of anything that I will change to trade for it,” she said.
Of her military career, she said, “This profession is both noble and unique as it stands alongside the legal profession as being noble, but the uniqueness is beyond any other, and this is because the Military profession is one upon which any other profession can be built. I, on the other hand, am privileged to belong to two noble professions, each of which was demanding as the other. My success as a Judicial Officer, if I may say so, was only because I had this military foundation,” she stated.
Colonel Mc Lennan has served under ten of the twelve Chiefs-of-Staff since the establishment of the GDF. She has lauded the progress of women within the Force and made reference to the female paratroopers and women now serving on border locations as impressive strides as women continue to work along with their menfolk.
“Women have qualified themselves in almost every academic discipline alongside their men folk in the Force; lawyers, doctors, educators, chefs, football referees internationally at FIFA, just to name a few,” she said.
In this regard, she encouraged the members of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) to continue to break glass ceilings.
She alluded to the fact that never were there two full female Colonels among the membership of the Corps, referring to herself and Colonel Lorraine Foster, who currently commands the Training Corps.
“To the male Officers and other ranks, keep a watchful eye for the members of the WAC, for there is so much more to come,” she said.
After 37 years, Colonel Ann McLennan says she has enjoyed every moment of her career journey where endurance, patience and support from her mother and other family members were key factors.
“I am grateful to the GDF and, by extension, each Chief of Staff under whom I served for believing in me and for their guidance and support every step of the way, firstly to my course Officer Maj Pickering and the course Principal Instructors, one of whom is now the Honourable Prime Minister Mark Phillips, who was also a Chief of Staff, for believing that I was officer quality and seeing my potential,” she stated.
Colonel McLennan proceeded on pre-retirement leave early last month.