President Dr Irfaan Ali said systems will soon be in place to facilitate more soldiers being registered in academic programmes aligned to the development needs of the country.
The Head of State made this announcement during the Guyana Defence Force’s Anniversary Dinner in commemoration of its 55th year in service to the nation. The celebratory event was hosted at the Officer’s Mess, Base Camp Ayanganna, last evening.
In his feature address as Commander in Chief, President Ali said that the GDF would have a pivotal role to play in the emergence of a new Guyana. He pointed to its human resource capacity, which he said “was extremely important”.
The President noted that the milestone celebration should be seen as an opportunity for renewed commitment, renewed loyalty, renewed spirit and the renewal of our collective energies in ensuring that the next 55 years and beyond can be celebrated under the glorious cloud of knowing that national development was at the forefront.
“I compliment you for all the work that you have done and you will continue to do; for me, you are the embodiment of professionalism.”
President Ali also pointed to the importance of collective awareness and knowledge of the country’s development trajectory as well as the factors that pose a threat to our overall development.
“We can only develop and defend that development trajectory if we are aware of where they are and if we are aware of the development that lies ahead. We have to be aware, not only of the economic prosperity that lies ahead, we have to be aware of every single sector, we have to be aware of our threats…climate change is a threat, and we have to be aware of the impact it can have on our country.”
On this note, the Head of State said that it is imperative that the army is equipped, not only physically, but with the necessary human resource capacity.
“It is important that within the army we have experts in oil and gas. It is important that within the army, we have experts in oil and gas related disasters. It is important that have experts in climate change. It is important we have experts in GIS mapping… I’ve already discussed with the Chief of Staff an aggressive programme in ensuring we get more army officers, more soldiers registered in academic programmes that are aligned to the development needs of our country.”
He said that the Joint Forces will also benefit from the 20,000 scholarships which will be offered over the next five years.
“You have tremendous human resource potential that I’m going to tap in to as Commander in Chief. All of this of course should lead us to be better citizens. But I believe strongly to be better citizens, the government has some responsibilities. And you have some, all of us have some personal responsibility.”
President Ali reminded those gathered that regardless of where executive power lies; it is their right as citizens to participate in the country’s development process. He urged the soldiers to take part in the national development drive.
“I believe, very strongly, that together we have to build a solid partnership and that partnership has underlying goals: the protection of our country, the advancement of our country, and the development of the citizens of Guyana. Once we all subscribe to this, these noble aspirations in service, I think we can all hold our heads high and know that we have done our best, and you can depend on us as a strong partner, moving forward.”
The Army’s Chief of Staff, Brigadier Godfrey Bess also used the opportunity to assure the Head of State that the GDF aims to continue its transformation in order to become resolutely capable of defending the country against all threats.
“The security, safety and stability of our nation has now become much more important. There is now much more at stake for us to secure. There’s much more to be done to ensure the continued viability of our nation and the safety and prosperity of our citizens.”
Brigadier Bess also expressed gratitude to the President for his continued support and commitment.
Observations to mark the 55th anniversary commenced earlier this month and are being held under the theme, “Together we toiled to arrive at fifty-five with greater efficiency for National Security.”