After 35 years of distinguished military service, Colonel George Lewis was on Monday promoted to Brigadier and then sworn-in as the new Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) at Camp Ayanganna.
During an interview with the media after his inauguration, Brigadier Lewis said he has already ignited discussions with the Guyana Defence Board on a number of pertinent issues relative to the army.
“Our mandate is to provide border defence. We have some challenges there we definitely have to work on; it may require recapitalisation, acquisition of new equipment. We are in discussion with the Guyana Defence Board, we have identified the issues and we are working to resolve them,” he stated.
Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President David Granger, expressed congratulations to the new Chief of Staff as he urged him to stay true to his mandate.
“The (Guyana Defence) Board is confident that Brigadier Lewis is the most senior and best qualified officer to perform the functions of the high office of Chief of Staff…He has an unambiguous mandate to apply his military education, military expertise and military experience to protect the citizens and defend the territorial integrity of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,” President Granger stated at the swearing-in event.
Predecessor Brigadier Mark Phillips also congratulated his successor on his achievement as he reflected on the legacy he created during his three-year tenure.
“I think I am leaving a team of officers who are well trained, well experienced under my command, we have started a process that we refer to as operational readiness where we have improved our ability to conduct operations through any part of Guyana utilising any resources that we have and more importantly, improving the quality of life of all military bases throughout Guyana,” he stated.
Lewis was enlisted on September 1, 1981 and eventually promoted to colonel back in 2011.
He also attended a number of courses in and out of Guyana as part of his development including the Standard Officers’ Course No11; 76 mm Cannon Specialist Training; Junior Command Staff Course; Supervisory Managers’ Development ; Advance Field Artillery in Venezuela; Senior Command Staff Course; Advance Field Artillery Officer Course in the United States; Defence Resource Management in Belize; Military Science of Strategy and Campaign in China; Command and General Staff in the USA; Managing Democracy in a Democratic, Market-based Society, United Kingdom; Caribbean Defence and Security Course, USA; and National Authority on Chemical Database in Finland.
Lewis also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Management from the University of Guyana and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Central Michigan University.
He has held numerous appointments along his way to becoming chief-of-staff which include Commanding Officer of 1 Artillery Battalion; Officer Commanding (acting) 21 Artillery Company; Second-in-Command 1 Infantry Battalion Group; Commander (acting) 1 Infantry Battalion Group; Base Commander, Base Camp Stephenson; Commanding Officer Air Corps; Staff Officer 1 Intelligence & Security, Defence Headquarters; Commanding Officer 1 Infantry Battalion; Inspector-General, Defence Headquarters; and Deputy Chief of Staff/Colonel General Staff, Defence Headquarters.
Additionally, Lewis has attended several seminars and conferences during his career. Among them are Peace Keeping Operation (North-02) Symposium El Salvador; Regional Air Force USA; Regional Air Force Counter Drug (RAFC) Conference, USA; Chiefs of Air Forces of the Americas, USA; Regional Counter Drug Conference, USA; Regional Intelligence Seminar and the Annual Guyana/Brazil Military Exchange Meeting, Brazil.
Lewis was also part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti during 1995/1996.
He has been awarded the Military Efficiency Medal; the 25th Anniversary Medal; United Nations Peace Keeping Medal, United Nations Mission in Haiti (1996); the 40th Anniversary Medal, Guyana (2005); Military Service Medal; Colaborador Emerito do Exercito; Medalla do Pacificador-Brazil (2011); Border Defence Medal, Guyana (2016) and 50th Anniversary Medal Guyana (2016).
Meanwhile, Brigadier Lewis took command of the GDF yesterday at the Change of Command Parade at Base Camp Ayanganna in Thomas Lands, Georgetown.
Outgoing Brigadier Mark Phillips handed over the symbolic colours of the GDF in a shower of thunderous applause from a wide cross section of spectators which included Guyanese Head of State David Granger and other government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and family, friends and well-wishers. Photos from yesterday’s event can be seen below: