Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Patrick West on Thursday promoted a batch of Officer Cadets undergoing training on the Standard Officer Course Number 52, to the rank of Ensign, signalling the half-way point of the course, which was extended to 24 months.
This allows for them to benefit from an improved and restructured programme, which extends the range of knowledge and skills training for potential officers.
The Ensigncy Parade was held at the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School (CUPOCS) Drill Square at Base Camp Stephenson, Timehri, East Bank Demerara (EBD).
Major Jose Ferriera is the commanding officer of the course. Owing to COVID-19 precautions, Thursday’s parade was conducted minus the traditional pomp and ceremony that previously allowed for the close relatives of the soldiers to be in attendance.
However, relatives were able to view the parade, as it occurred, on the GDF Facebook page.
The 19 Cadets were adorned with their new badges of rank by Brigadier West, assisted by Commanding Officer of the Training Corps, Lieutenant Colonel Ken-Lloyd Roberts.
Four of the cadets were from the Belize Defence Force and Belize Coast Guard respectively, two from the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force, one from St Kitts and Nevis Defence Force, one from the Guyana Fire Service, one from the Guyana Prison Service, while the remaining 10 will serve the GDF.
In his address to the newly-promoted Ensigns, Chief-of-Staff West noted that he has been observing their training at different phases and stages and seeing them achieve core competencies.
He commended the Ensigns for their determination and persistence, and said it was the same tenacity that would get them through year two and ultimately, to commissioning.
“In your quiet moments, when you reflect on your training, you will realise that it targeted your weaknesses and made you overcome failures to become better versions of yourselves. You are tougher, stronger, physically and mentally fitter and better prepared for officership,” Brigadier West expressed.
He reminded them that their second year of training would push them more academically so that they could achieve an Associate Degree in General Studies from the University of Guyana. “I challenge SOC 52 to ensure that at graduation in 2021, none of you should graduate with a pass… I expect credits and distinctions only…I believe in you… I just need you to believe in yourselves and work hard to support that belief!” he urged the Ensigns.
The Chief-of-Staff also urged the newly promoted Ensigns to begin to envision how they could make their contributions to the transformation of the Force and, in this regard, suggested that they get involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Brigadier West reminded the Ensigns that they must commit to finishing the course strong and remain steadfast in their determination to complete the final leg of their journey.
As part of the proceedings, the Ensigns also performed a Silent Drill Display. This first year of the programme focused on military studies.