Georgetown, March 8, 2023: The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) organised a special breakfast treat for its female staff to honour women in energy on International Women’s Day 2023 at the Cara Lodge.

The Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mahender Sharma, thanked staff for their hard work throughout the years. The Guyana Energy Agency continues to support the invaluable contribution of women in the workplace through training, workshops and educational development. At the GEA, from a total of 126 staff members, (58) are female contributing to forty-six (46%) percent of GEA’s work force.  Dr. Sharma emphasised the important role that women play in the national development agenda and recognised the significant impact that energy initiatives, such as the upcoming distribution of 30,000 solar home systems, will play in women’s lives in the Hinterland and rural communities.

In honour of International Women’s Day, the GEA would like to recognise some of its senior female staff:

Mrs. Coleen Sparman-Stephen is an Attorney-at-Law for over ten (10) years and has been employed as the Legal Officer of the Guyana Energy Agency for approximately five (5) years. She attained a Diploma in Social-Work (Distinction) – University of Guyana, an LLB (Credit) – University of Guyana and a LEC from the Hugh Wooding Law School. Mrs. Sparman-Stephen is responsible for prosecutions and civil litigations. Additionally, she worked on the review of several pieces of Legislation related to the Energy Sector, including the Petroleum and Petroleum Products Regulations and the Electricity Sector Reform Act. Mrs. Sparman-Stephen embraces the view that “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception” ~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Mrs. Shareefa Baksh-Toolsiram is the Head of the Administration and Human Resources Division and has been an employee of the Guyana Energy Agency for just over two years.  Mrs. Toolsiram possesses a BSc. in Sociology, and her responsibilities at the GEA include the procurement of goods and services, maintenance and management of assets, the organisation of transportation and the provision of logistic services. She is also responsible for all matters related to the employment and welfare of the employees of the Agency. Mrs. Baksh-Toolsiram highlighted the need for women at all levels, especially at the policy and decision-making level, to change the dynamics,  reshape the conversations and ensure women’s voices are heard and heeded.

Ms. Shevon Wood is the Head of the Energy and Energy Statistics Division and has been an employee of the Guyana Energy Agency for over 11 years. Ms. Wood possesses a BSc. in Economics and MSc. in Environmental Management, specialising in Natural Resources Management. In addition to overseeing the functions of her division, she acts as Guyana’s SIEE Adviser and CAPEV Supervisor for the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) and Guyana’s focal point for the Caribbean Energy Information System (CEIS). Ms. Wood mentioned that the role of women in the clean energy transition is critical and encouraged people to celebrate and uplift the women in their lives every day as we all collectively work to achieve gender equity.

Ms. Thandiwe Benn, who has an LLM in Oil and Gas Law and Policy, has been an employee of the Guyana Energy Agency for over 9 years. As the Head of the Legal and Licensing Division, she is responsible for enforcing the Laws and Regulations governing all activities involving petroleum and petroleum products in Guyana. Ms. Benn highlighted the accomplishments of the incredible women working in her division. She also noted that the process of licensing and regulating petroleum operations enables families and women to make a living and contribute to the economy in a safe and environmentally conscious manner, an activity which aids in building the family and this country, perhaps for generations to come.

GEA’s Accountant, Mrs. Ryhan Stephens, has a BSc. in Accounting and has been an employee for over 10 years. Mrs. Stephens is responsible for assisting in budget preparation, supervising the preparation and dispatch of invoices, reviewing and ensuring timely payments, and assisting in the preparation and management of monthly cash flow, among other things. She emphasised that there is no limit to what any ambitious and hardworking can accomplish. So, believe it, set goals and make it happen.

The Guyana Energy Agency wishes all women a Happy International Women’s Day.