Newly-appointed Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier George Lewis on Tuesday warned officers against misrepresenting the military unit, and decried instances of unprofessional behaviour and indiscipline by ranks.
Lewis, who recently assumed the helm of the army, was addressing ranks at a church service held to kick off the institution’s 51st anniversary in the auditorium of Base Camp Ayanganna.
While he expressed gratitude for the successes achieved so far, the Chief of Staff was more concerned with the decorum of soldiers, especially since they have a significant role to play in society.
He urged them to examine the way in which they execute their duties, the values they upheld and customs they practised.
“It was cases of indiscipline that resulted in ranks being charged with traffic offences. It was cases of indiscipline that caused ranks to be involved in spousal abuse, and cases of integrity that caused ranks to scale. The fundamental ingredient of discipline is regimentation. If we fail to regiment ourselves, then by extension, we will continue to contribute to serious indiscipline in the Force,” the new Army Chief said.
Brigadier Lewis sought to enforce that each officer had a major responsibility, and implored them to recognise and apply the new standards required at the inductive training levels.
“We must look at the way we execute our duties, the values we uphold, and the customs we practice and always strive for best practice,” he said.
He continued, “I do believe that we need to continuously evaluate our mission in this changing environment, in order to continue to provide safety and security. Threats are evolving and we must likewise evolve. Those evolving threats may require we change our operating posture.”
The celebration on Tuesday was also to commemorate Defence Force Day. Lewis said the day was a special one in the lives of the Defence Force.
“We celebrate 52 years as a defence force and providing defence and security to Guyana, something we all should be proud of and applaud ourselves for.”
He added that the church service must be seen as a time for reflection and introspection.
“We must examine our past, deliberate on our present and chart our course for future. We must ask ourselves, what does it mean to be 51 years old?” He said that at 51 years old, the GDF must demonstrate that it was an experienced and matured State organisation, committed to defending Guyana, “with officers, soldiers and civilian workers who are committed, dedicated and disciplined”.
“We must also commit ourselves to professionally performing our duties without fear or favour. I do also believe that after 51 years of providing public safety, that no fair-minded person would dispute the fact that the GDF has made a unique contribution to the safety and development of this nation, and that in every way we have satisfied our motto to serve throughout our existence,” the Army Chief declared.
Further, he stated that the Force must continue to provide public security in the future and must also be able to continue to transform the counter changes in the contemporary operating environment and to counter new and emerging threats.
“I have every confidence that we, together as a force, would embrace the changes that are necessary for our development, that we would continually assess the environment in which we operate and modify our training and operations to meet those threats.
“I do believe that the GDF cannot stand apart from society. Our very existence requires an integrated presence with society. Therefore, the future GDF must forge stronger ties and bonds with society, with governmental departments and with our veterans.
“Let me assure you that you have nothing to fear with the new leadership, once you do your job professionally and make positive contributions towards the achievement of our objectives. Our every act must be above reproach, as being a soldier is an honourable profession.”