[www.inewsguyana.com] –The knowledge-base and professional capabilities of 34 Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Officers and other ranks were enhanced, as a result of professional training, which they gained at external institutions during 2013.
Twenty-four Officers and Ranks benefitted from training overseas while the remainder took advantage of education offered at local post-secondary institutions.
The officers and ranks who received enhanced training overseas, attended military institutions including the US Army Command and General Staff College and completed studies on courses embracing, but not limited to, Hydraulic Systems and Equipment; Patrol Craft Hull Maintenance; Comprehensive Security Responses to Terrorism; CID Special Agent; Physical Training and Education for Instructors; Inspection of Ammunition.
Locally, Officers and Ranks completed professional studies in areas including Mechanical Engineering, Public Management, Carpentry and Joinery, Auto Mechanics, Catering and Hospitality Management, Accounting, Agriculture, Nursing, and Industrial Relations and Social Studies.
“The Guyana Defence Force is a professional organisation and possesses the most sacred of national mandates; that of protecting Guyana’s territorial integrity and aiding in the maintenance of law and order within the nation’s borders.” says Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips.
He added that “our remit is unique among organisations across Guyana. In this regard, the education and training of our troops across several academic disciplines and skill sets is of critical importance, for the Force to continue the professional and effective conduct of its mandate. Each year we invite young men and women from all across the nation to join our ranks to dedicate themselves to giving a high quality service to the nation. They come to us with varying degrees of knowledge and skills and it is critical that we enhance their knowledge and skills in order that they not only function effectively and efficiently within the GDF, but also make positive contributions to the nation even after they depart the Force.”
The Chief of Staff emphasized that the GDF does not simply “talk the talk” but also” walks the walk” when it comes to offering opportunities for professional development to its members.
It is widely known that the Defence Force provides basic training designed to transform ordinary citizens into soldiers: this occurs on the Standard Officer Cadet and Basic Recruit Courses. However, both Officers and Other Ranks are exposed to mandatory military courses such as the Junior and Senior Command and Staff courses and the Junior Leader, Platoon Sergeant and Senior Leader courses.
Additionally, the Force conducts several “in-house” specialist courses in All Arms, Skill at Arms, Drills, Paratrooping, Driving, Catering, Ordnance, Military Policing, Medical Assistant, Ordinary Seamans Rating and Riverain Boat Operations, to name a few.
In 2009, the Force launched its restructured Academic Education programme (AEP) which is designed to aid its troops to pursue, through self-study and guided tuition, the enhancement in academic subjects –Mathematics, English Language and Social Studies in particular. The AEP is also geared toward aiding soldiers to study for and sit Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations. Demonstration of proficiency at AEP subject levels while pursuing “in-house” military and specialist courses is now mandatory in order to secure passes on such courses.
The Guyana Defence Force continues to provide a stable environment for persons who choose to become professional soldiers. As such, anyone who chooses a career in the military, is assured that, his/her dedication, perseverance and determination to succeed will gain positive benefits in professional and personal development.
Seventy-three soldiers are currently being trained on the Junior Leader Course, 17 on the Senior Leader Course, 28 on the Leader Sergeant Course and 27 on the Platoon Sergeant Course. Additionally, there are other Officers and Ranks who are continuing their education at post-secondary institutions locally and overseas. Of note, is the fact that state to state and military to military cooperation agreements provides the basis upon which Officers and Ranks gain training in the USA, Brazil, China, and Jamaica.