Who says women cannot join the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) highly-trained Rapid Response Team (RRT)?
If you are, think again!
Because Gorethy Teku has proven you wrong.
After just seven years with the force, Teku, of Malaita and Makira parentage, is now a member of the highly trained RRT, a unit of the RSIPF set up to deal with riots and other social disorders.
For a woman of her age, this is no light decision, but it’s a choice she had prepared to take on.
On Friday in Honiara, Teku, 32, was one of the RRT members issued with a certificate for successfully completing the level three course in Public Order Management (POM).
Teku’s journey in life started at her home village of Waisisi, west Are’are, Malaita, where she attended primary school.
She came from a family of nine – three sisters and five brothers.
“Initially, my dream is to work in a ship, and become a captain,” she told the Sunday Star.
“But things changed on the way and I became a police officer,” Teku added.
After completing her primary school education at Waisisi, she secured a place at St Joseph’s Tenaru in 1999.
“Coming to St Joseph’s was the first time for me to leave my family and go to a boarding school” she said.
“It was terribly difficult for the first time for me as a teenager but eventually I was able to settle in and concentrate on my studies.
“I could still remember the nights I was unable to sleep because I was homesick and miss my mother so much.”
She attended St Joseph’s all the way up to the sixth form, which she completed in 2004.
Unfortunately for her, she could not proceed further to the next level.
But that did not stop her from striving.
She quickly got enrolled at the University of the South Pacific Honiara campus straight after, with the aim to achieve her dream job as a ship captain.
But after just a year at USP she was unable to continue due to financial constraints.
“It was at this point in time that I started looking for jobs that would help me to pay for my tuition,” Teku said.
While she was trying to figure out some finance for tuition, she came across an advertisement that the RSIPF were looking for new recruits.
“I decided to apply on the premise that If I got accepted, I would be able to work and study at the same time to complete my course.
“My idea at that time was to use the police job to pay for my tuition and eventually move on to pursue marine studies.”
But when she joined the force in 2007, the situation became different.
“It’s either I work or study. I decided to work so I put my effort into my new job.”
Teku said her first years with the force was difficult and challenging, especially when doing physical exercises.
“As first initial basic trainings were rolled out, it was difficult being a female amongst the male dominated force.
“But gradually I fitted in.
“I’m grateful that my male colleagues were so supportive and helpful,” Teku said.
A few years later with the force, and her childhood dream to become a ship captain began to fade.
In the force, Teku is known and respected for her hard work and determination.
This led to her joining the Central Response Unit at the Central Police Station in Honiara.
“I don’t know how and why I was chosen, I never thought of joining this particular unit as a female.
“I guess my attitude of respect towards my male and female colleagues and the openness I got as a child growing up with my five brothers was the reason.”
Teku said she learned a lot joining the force and dealing with different types of people.
“Although this was not a dream job, I’m content to serve the nation through the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.”
She said her aim is to keep serving and hoping that one day she’ll join overseas mission teams such as the UN Peacekeeping Mission.
Teku said women can do what men did if they give their hearts to it.
Being a member of the force’s lethal unit is a rewarding experience for any women.
And Teku encourages girls who want to join the unit in future to work for it.
“You have to work to get to where you wanted to be,” she said.
BY BRADFORD THEONOMI