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[Ovid Williams] Guyana's first Amerindian Pilot

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[Ovid Williams] Guyana's first Amerindian Pilot

Unread post by bimjim » Sun May 07, 2017

http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2017/ ... ian-pilot/

[Ovid Williams] Guyana's first Amerindian Pilot
Tiana Cole
May 07, 2017

Fluent Spanish speaker, Ovid Williams, is said to be the first pilot of Amerindian heritage in Guyana. The now 61-year-old man of the Patamona tribe was born in Paramakatoi Village, Region Eight.

The then young Ovid Williams sitting in the plane Cockpit.

Williams began school late as a result of family issues. At age seven he was enrolled into the Paramakatoi Primary School from where he wrote Common Entrance (now the Secondary School Entrance Examination (SSEE) and was awarded a place Queen’s College.

“To attend QC, I was offered a scholarship by the Government in 1969, having done well at the Common Entrance Exam. At that time it was called Interior Scholarship. It has been renamed Hinterland Scholarship now to include other ethnic groups in the Hinterland other than Amerindians.”

He was successful in the General Certificate Examination (GCE) and left for Cuba in 1976 to pursue a course in aviation. During his stay in Cuba, Williams learnt to speak Spanish. He returned to Guyana three years later upon successful completion of the course.

“The biggest challenge in Cuba was the language. Learning the language was very difficult since the instructors did not speak English. At that time the Government of Cuba and Guyana had a bilateral agreement for scholarships in 1976.”

When asked why he chose a career in aviation he said, “I love travelling, so being an aviator fulfilled that urge. Also whilst travelling, I can help my people who cannot speak English with translation, especially in giving medical history of patients.”

Upon his return from Cuba, he enrolled in the Guyana Defence (GDF) Standard Officer Course 12 and later graduated as a lieutenant.

He returned to Paramakatoi in 1985; he was 29 and experienced difficulties re-adapting to the way of life of the village.

According to him, this was so because he had departed from his birthplace at the tender age of 10. An adventurous Williams ventured into the gold mining field and worked as a pork knocker before owning a dredge and a small company for over a decade.

In 2003, Williams who was the lead guitarist in his school youth band came to Georgetown and gained employment at the then Ministry of Amerindian Affairs as a Community Development Officer, a position he held for six years.

Williams has also worked as a consultant on the Amalia Falls Hydro project for the indigenous people and in 2015 became a Logistics Officer on the Amerindian Development Fund.

In September 2016, he assisted with the cultural aspects in various Amerindian communities. He has also spent the last five years translating the Low Carbon Development Strategy in various Amerindian dialects. This retired pilot has been instrumental in translating the Patamona dictionary into English.

Williams says that he speaks five different languages with English being secondary.

His take on aviation is that it’s an expensive career to pursue, and since aviation in Guyana is privatized, businesses should sponsor youths who want to pursue a career in this field, he says.

“I think Air Services Limited and Trans Guyana Airways to some extent should do that. The government should also consider reestablishing a National Airline.”

The now retired pilot worked on a BN 2 Islander owned by the GDF, as well as a short stint on the Skyvan.

Last year the father of two received a medal of recognition during the Amerindian Heritage month observances.

Williams when not working, enjoys music and penning his memoirs. “I’m also compiling village profiles in an attempt to regain the original Indigenous names.”

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