Feb 22, 2009 Editorial
On the eve of the commemoration of the thirty-ninth anniversary of our attainment of Republican status, at the opening of the GDF Annual Officers’ Conference at Camp Ayanganna, some bold initiatives were announced by the Commander-in-Chief President Jagdeo and the Chief of Staff Commodore Best.
It was very obvious that, after a decade and a half of this administration spending billions of dollars annually and thousands of man-hours to re-orient the strategic thinking of the armed forces, some progress is finally visible in the creation of a military entity that may serve us in this new millennium. The most heartening announcement was for a scheme that would focus on the education of the ordinary ranks to be launched next month. It will be conducted along the lines of the distance education programme that has long been a feature of our educational system in the wider society. The goal will be to bring the soldiers up to the level of a high-school graduate.
This programme follows on the widely-reported tests administered on the ranks last year, which revealed that a large percentage could not pass an exam set at the level of the sixth-grade assessment tests. We heartily endorse this programme and exhort those who will administer it to ensure that it becomes mandatory for all present and future ranks.
It has long been recognised that the officer corps of the GDF had consistently been successful in attracting some of the brightest young Guyanese year after year. Part of this success was based on the knowledge that GDF officers were exposed to a continuous regimen of training in all aspects of leadership and other specialised knowledge bases.
This training was not only conducted in-house but at UG and numerous foreign institutions. A young officer who entered the GDF was assured that after he retired with full benefits twenty years later (if he so desired) he could enter (for instance) any corporation at a very high managerial level. This was a very powerful incentive.
The reality was very different for the ordinary ranks, and this neglect of their basic education created its own destructive vicious circle. Firstly, it created a distinct class structure within the army that served to lower morale: grunt work was not merely the fortuity of rank but also the stigma of an impossible-to-be-rectified educational deficit. The army suffered immeasurably: the modern soldier’s equipment alone demands a fairly sophisticated basic knowledge.
The various skills that were sought to be imparted to fulfil the army’s mandate, such as motor repairs, etc. had to suffer on account of the low educational level of the ranks. This then spilled over into their most crucial post-army life: being doomed to indigence after serving their country in a most hazardous capacity.
This was not encouraging to the children of these soldiers and their neighbours, who in other societies would have been the most likely recruits. It was not surprising that the number of AWOLS has risen dramatically: the opportunities even in “hustling” far outweighed those of the army’s.
The announcement that promotional opportunities for both the ranks and officers will be linked to the new programme should go a far way in breaking down the debilitating caste structure of the army. The Commander-in-Chief, who has been in the forefront of the efforts to introduce the educational programme for ranks – and has committed the requisite funding – exhorted the officer corps not to drop the ball. If the newly introduced educational opportunities for the ranks are followed up with even half the diligence of the education of the officer corps, we can be sure that we will have a most efficient and capable army for the 21st century.
The President also signalled the expanded role that properly educated, equipped and functioning Disciplined Forces play when he pointed out the possibilities of the army playing a larger role in the fight against drugs and economic crimes. No Republic can long survive if its citizens will not stand up in its defence. But no army will be capable of standing up if the state does not properly equip it for the task. In the modern world this means a highly educated force. We believe we have made a credible start.
Dec 05, 2020ESPNcricinfo – The first ODI between South Africa and England in Cape Town has been called off, less than an hour before the toss. As reported by ESPNcricinfo, the postponement related to a...
Dec 05, 2020
Dec 05, 2020
Dec 05, 2020
Dec 05, 2020
Dec 04, 2020
Kaieteur News – Yesterday, I described the collective mind of 60 persons who signed a letter in the newspaper demanding... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – Human rights and constitutional violations in Haiti have been ignored for too... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]