Hundreds bid farewell to Lt. Col. Charles – A Guyanese hero

Hundreds of persons turned up to bid farewell to Lieutenant Colonel, Michael Charles at his home in Timehri, East Bank Demerara, on Wednesday.

Col. Charles who served in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) for some 40 years, was the pilot of the helicopter which crashed a week ago in the dense jungle of Guyana, while on a mission to deliver supplies to troops.

Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali bids farewell to Lieutenant Colonel, Michael Charles

Several persons paid tribute to the fallen hero who was widely known for his photography work, which showcased the beauty of Guyana, captured from his lens as he flew across the country.

Among those paying tributes was Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who described Charles as a brother, a friend, and a legend.

The body of Lieutenant Colonel, Michael Charles arrives at his home in Timehri on Wednesday

“Michael Charles was an extraordinary individual. He did ordinary things in extraordinary ways… I know Michael Charles personally; I consider him a brother. I listened to his wise counsel, [and] I marveled at the spectacular images that he produced with his camera,” President Ali stated.

The president highlighted the exemplary service of the skilled aviator, in sharing his experiences, mentoring younger pilots, and saving lives. He also spoke of his kindness and generosity.

Scene from the Promenade Gardens

“Above all, he was a patriot. He would lay down his life willingly in defence of Guyana…He undertook risky missions and he always acted out of a sense of duty…Michael Charles’ death has left a void in our nation. With a heavy yet grateful heart, we eternally echo his praises for the unwavering dedication he bestowed upon safeguarding our territorial integrity and sovereignty,” the president expressed.

The head of state spoke of Charles’ outstanding photography skills, noting that his artwork will be mounted permanently in the National Museum in celebration of his life.

Scene from the Promenade Gardens

“I will carry you in my heart always Mike, may your spirit soar like an eagle and forever look down kindly upon us. Go forth in peace, enveloped in the love that we as a nation and I as your friend hold always for you. Thank you, Mike, for your service,” President Ali said as he bid farewell to the fallen hero.

Also paying tribute was Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, who expressed gratitude on behalf of the Amerindian people for the love and generosity he has shown.

Scene from the Promenade Gardens

Following the funeral service, the body of the legendary GDF pilot was flown to Georgetown for tributes at the Promenade Gardens, Middle Street.

Also in attendance were several government ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, and Members of Parliament.

Onlookers as the body of Lieutenant Colonel, Michael Charles arrived at his home on Wednesday