It has been reported in the media that President Donald Ramotar has promoted three GDF officers from the rank of Lieutenant Colonel to that of Colonel. Is Ramotar (aided and abetted by his Commodore) trying to provide the foreign embassies with light entertainment?
The GDF, by my count, now has seven Colonels, eight if you include Coast Guard Captain John Flores.
According to the book “Military Men” (Author: Ward Just, Published 1972 by Michael Joseph Ltd), a Colonel commands a regiment which numbers between 3,000 and 5,000 personnel (Chapter 4, page 104, second paragraph)
If as was claimed just before the last election, the strength of the GDF is less than 1900, then it would seem that the outfit should have one Colonel who should be the Chief-of Staff.
According to the same publication, a Lieutenant Colonel commands a battalion which numbers between 800 and 1,000 personnel. Assuming the estimate of the army’s strength to be accurate the Chief-of Staff should be aided by no more than four Lieutenant Colonels.
At the time when Brigadier David Granger was Commander the rank of Brigadier may have been warranted. A Brigadier commands a brigade which numbers between 4,000 and 5,000 personnel.
It is clear that Norman Maclean, Joe Singh and Mike Atherley should never have been elevated to the rank of Major General because a Major General commands a division which numbers 15,000 personnel.
Notwithstanding that, I believe Joe Singh probably had what it takes to command an infantry division in jungle or savannah combat. Atherley may have had that capability, but it is doubtful that Maclean was anywhere near having that capability.
Allow me to mention also that Atherley was given the rank of Major General as a retirement gift. This only serves to cheapen the rank and to diminish it in the sight of the soldiers.
The promotion of Francis Abraham in particular, to the rank of Colonel, is alarming. The man spent a decade or more at the presidential secretariat with the Jagans and Bharat Jagdeo while holding the ranks of Captain, Major then Lieutenant Colonel. Was he pleased to serve such a lengthy stint on a soft assignment? Was this counted as proper service to equip him to be elevated to the force’s high command?
No one should hold the position of presidential ADC for more than six months, and no one above the rank of captain should be given such an assignment.
If “Colonel” Abraham was left at the presidential secretariat for such an extended period why did he not protest to the Chief-of Staff and request a more challenging command or administrative assignment? He had to have been pretty happy with his lot.
I don’t know why Gary Best allowed Donald Ramotar to increase the number of Colonels in the army to eight but it could well be that he himself is hoping to be elevated to the rank of Rear Admiral before he retires.
The only ship the GDF has is an old minesweeper that was converted for coastal patrol duties. Its other vessels are boats. There is therefore no reason for anyone to hold even the rank of Commodore let alone that of Rear Admiral. The Coast Guard should be headed by a Lieutenant Commander (equivalent to army Major) and anyone that is promoted or transferred out of the Coast Guard should revert to the equivalent army rank and wear army attire and insignia.
In concluding, I would lay the following two recommendations squarely before Donald Ramotar:
(1) When members of the high command retire, resign or die those who take their place should do so without being given elevated rank. That way the top structure will eventually be configured in a way that correlates to the army’s manpower strength.
(2) Gary Best should retire with the same rank that he currently holds. Should Best be promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, Ramotar could very well find himself before a United Nations tribunal answering a charge of mass murder because senior staff of the American, British, Canadian, Brazilian, Venezuelan, Chinese and Indian embassies and various diplomatic missions in Guyana will surely die laughing.
Hopefully this letter will be published, but even if it isn’t, at least you should investigate its contents and make them the subject of an editorial, because they are sufficiently important.
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