President Ramotar tells officers to define themselves by their conduct -At GDF commissioning parade
Georgetown, GINA, February 12, 2014
Fifteen ensigns from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) today received their badges of ranks from their Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Ramotar as they were formerly commissioned second lieutenants at Base Camp Ayanganna, Thomas Lands, Georgetown.
The ranks successfully completed the Standard Officers’ Course (SOC) #46, which commenced in March last year with a batch of 24 students. The SOC was developed to provide training, not only for new army officers, but also for new officers of other services. Three of 15 officers who graduated were from the Belize Defence Force (BDF).
Best graduating student, Second Lieutenant, Simon Gordon receiving the Sword of Honour from Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Donald Ramotar
President Ramotar who delivered the charge said that the GDF’s cooperation with other countries brings the CARICOM region closer to the kind of integration that everyone hopes for, and assured that his Government will continue to search for areas of collaboration in this regard.
The Head of State told the graduating officers that, “you made a fine choice in opting to pursue a career in the military. Service and protection of your country is a special distinction is reserve for those who have aspired to be the finest that they can be. You have chosen a career in military service and today you have reached an important milestone.”
The training from this course was rigorous, both physically and mentally, and the President said that the fact that these officers have passed these grueling tests is testimony to their diligence, hard work and perseverance; qualities he said that are true to every professional soldier.
President Donald Ramotar inspecting the troops at Drill Square, Base Camp Ayanganna during the Guyana Defence Force’s commissioning parade
“Just as how others have served as an inspiration for you to join the military, you now, are in a position to be role models for future cadets. I want you to appreciate the tremendous privilege and responsibility that this represents,” he asserted.
He exhorted them to define themselves not by their rank, but by their conduct and to live up to their responsibilities by acting in such a way so as to uphold and promote the name of the GDF.
He also assured them that the sacrifices have been made and continue to be made are deeply valued by the nation, and pledged that the Government will do all that it can within its means to provide them with opportunities for self-improvement within the military.
The Commander-in-Chief also took the opportunity to publicly acknowledge and laud the skills of the GDF’s Special Force Officers who led the search operation for the Trans Guyana aircraft that crashed a few weeks ago in one of the country’s densely forested areas and retrieving the bodies of its two occupants.
President Donald Ramotar flanked by senior officers of the Guyana Defence Force, including Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips (front row-second from left) and officers who have successfully completed the Standard Officers’ Course #46
“The team undertook that mission which required them to use some of the training that they have received in the GDF and they did an outstanding job,” he said.
Nevertheless, the GDF continues to face many challenges which they have to overcome and the President said that he is confident that the current leadership of the army will take the necessary steps to address them. He also expressed concerns over the number of persons who are listed as Absent Without Leave (AWOL).
He reminded that, “Military service is unlike other vocation, where you can simply opt out as you please. Those who stay away from duty without authorisation and permission are imperiling the future of the army, affecting the security of our country and short-changing the taxpayers whose hard earn dollars have provided for their training.”
Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips in his message said that this training has instilled a higher level of discipline, built their confidence and character and sharpened their leadership qualities, all of which are necessary for service in the GDF.
He also reminded that military work requires judicious and skillful application of technology, aggression and discipline to accomplish given missions and tasks. He added that, “this is the professional framework that must now guide your intellectual development as young officers of the Force.”
The SOC provides a solid foundation for the subsequent professional development of all cadets entering the GDF. It is only an introduction to the officer training and development systems of all military and para-military services in Guyana, and must be supplemented by appropriate specialist and technical training.
From the batch of graduates, Second Lieutenant, Simon Gordon received the ‘best student’ award, Second Lieutenant, Marion Hernandez from the BDF who is the runner- up best student also received awards for military knowledge and best shot; while Second Lieutenant Steffhon Branche received the award for best drills.