Commander-in-Chief of Guyana’s Armed Forces, President David Granger, has urged the graduates of the Standard Officers’ Course #48 to embrace their new-found responsibilities. They must understand that human safety, national security and most importantly, service to the community must become the hallmarks of their service to the nation, he said.
Smartly attired in military ceremonial uniform the new officers were the highlight of the Commissioning parade on the GDF Base Camp Ayanganna ball field yesterday. They had undergone more than nine months of training at the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School (CUPOCS).
“You, the newest officers of the Guyana Defence Force, now possess Instruments of Commission, which constitute the legal authority appointing you as Second Lieutenants. Those Instruments allow you to fulfil your responsibilities to our country, our citizens and our communities.
“Those responsibilities are outlined in the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, which stipulates: “The State’s defence and security policy shall be to defend national independence, preserve the country’s sovereignty and integrity and guarantee the normal functioning of institutions and the security of citizens against any armed aggression.”
While the GDF is mandated to protect the nation’s sovereignty and to help maintain law and order in the society, ranks are also expected to serve their communities.
“The Guyana Defence Force, for half of a century, has been the sword and shield of our homeland. It has protected us from danger. It has suppressed revolt; it has repelled incursions; it has deterred would-be aggressors.
“The Defence Force has admirably guarded our nation’s skies, our waters, our territory and our patrimony. The safety of our citizens is the most important task of the State. Our people must enjoy security in their homes and communities.
“Service to our communities, especially in times of disaster and emergencies, is another responsibility of the State. The Defence Force, again, has always come to the rescue,” the President said.
The President added that his Administration has taken steps to strengthen the Force’s Engineer Corps, to assist in the construction of bridges and roadways in the Hinterland regions and so bridge the gaps between the Coastland and the Interior areas. He also spoke about establishing the People’s Militia.
Reminding of the reactivation of the Guyana People’s Militia which, as the Reserve Force, can be deployed to render assistance to our Regional Administrations and Communities in times of emergency, the President told those gathered that the Militia will be the citizens’ army.
“It will be based in communities in every Region of our country to keep those communities safe. A Civil Defence Corps, under the Civil Defence Commission, will be established to assist in times of environmental hazard,” the President said.
The new officers were charged to uphold the mission and responsibilities of the Guyana Defence Force to the highest standard.
“The nation looks to you to ensure the security of our country, the safety of our citizens and to provide service to our communities… You – young Guyanese men and women – are expected to undertake these responsibilities while upholding the six core values of service, loyalty, discipline, honour, trust and courage.”
Two Belizean officers and one from St. Kitts and Nevis were among the graduates. President Granger said that this was a symbol of Guyana’s commitment to regional integration, which is needed for the protection of small states.
“Guyana’s foreign policy is to foster closer relations among the Defence Forces of the Caribbean. We are committed to collaborating with each other to ensure the security of small states and to guarantee that this Region remains a zone of peace,” the Commander-in-Chief said.
Amongst those present at the event were Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Mark Phillips; Chancellor of the Judiciary (Ag), Justice Carl Singh; former Chief of Staff of the GDF, Commodore Gary Best; Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Raphael Trotman; British High Commissioner to Guyana, Mr. Greg Quinn; Cuban Ambassador to Guyana, Julio Caesar Gonsalez Marchante; and the families of the new Officers were among those who attended the Commissioning Parade of graduates, which was held on the army’s playfield.Vlissengen Road.
At age 22, Second Lieutenant Cleveroy Patrick was handed the sword of honour by President David Granger for being the best student on the course. This was in addition to being adjudged the officer with the best military knowledge on the course.
“I now have a clearer understanding of the familiar term, ‘mind over matter… I can confidently state that I have been transformed and am ready to lead.”
Second Lieutenant Richard Aseregadoo who is on a training course at the Brazilian Air Force officer Cadet academy was adjudged Runner up Best Student.
Two other ranks who were part of the training but could not graduate were Britany Van Lange who is at the Wes Point Army training college in the United States as well as Rodwin Paul who is undergoing training at the US Naval Academy.
Aged 24, Second Lieutenant, Jermaine Nedd, was adjudged the rank who was best at drills, Mark Bagot, 23, was adjudged best shot and 2nd Lt. Jermis Batson age 24 was adjudged the officer with the best fitness.
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