National Service is not “history”
Once again I note and read Peeping Tom’s description of the Guyana National Service and cannot help but deduce that the particular ‘Peeping Tom’ has some kind of ingrained hatred of the Guyana National Service and its former planners.
As regards the paramilitary aspect of the training in the GNS, Peeping Tom must have been somewhere far removed from Guyana when one of our geographic neighbours was engaged in sabre-rattling in the hope of driving fear in the Guyanese populace. I suspect that “Peeping Tom” will next try to denigrate the Guyana Peoples Militia and the concept of “every citizen a soldier”.
The Americans call up their nationals (National Guard) to defend America and its interests way outside of the USA (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan). We stood our ground against threats through preparation of minds (young and old) in the school system (Young Brigade and National Cadet Corps), the Pioneer Corps and on through to the Reserve Corps.
I am aware that the Guyana National Service had shortcomings while it pursued the inculcation of national pride, a sense of patriotism, respect for authority, recognition of national heroes and symbols in support of the education system, homes and communities. However, in the least conspicuous school in any part of Guyana there was a national service component.
The National Pledge and Anthem and their meanings and interpretation were known by pupils and students. The level of social order was above that which now obtains. As regards “first becoming skilled and proficient” one has to approach this with, among other things, a sense of pride, respect and discipline which at the moment is sorely lacking even among some of our leaders at all levels.
Yes Peeping Tom, many skilled programmes are now available. So many of those who now ‘graduate’ or qualify lack a sense of patriotic pride, respect, and do not know the second and third verses of the National Anthem. I humbly agree that “the best national service is for people to become productive citizens” and “there is a need for a new type of national service”.
National Service is not “history”. It is a requirement for the future when we observe the present. Ask any parent whose offspring lacks social direction. Ask any former teacher officer.