Pres. Ali assures GDF ranks of support in better salaries, housing, academic pursuits

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President Dr Irfaan Ali decorating ranks at the commissioning parade on Wednesday at Base Camp Ayanganna

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Dr Irfaan Ali on Wednesday reminded over 60 officers during their commissioning parade that their conduct in and out of uniform would determine the respect they were given.

Some 27 ranks successfully completed the Standard Officer Course (SOC) No 53, while another 40 completed the Reserve Officer Course (ROC) No 17. They were decorated with their new badges of rank by President Ali on Wednesday afternoon during the commissioning parade at the Drill Square, Base Camp Ayanganna in Georgetown.

During his feature address, the Commander-in-Chief pointed out that since taking office, he has read about “disturbing and unacceptable” incidents involving serving members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).

As such, he underscored the importance of displaying qualities that could be attributed to leaders, which they would have learnt during the training courses.

“Are you ready to lead?… To lead, it is to lead by example and not only by fiat. I urge you to be mindful of the examples you set as officers. Your conduct in and out of uniform will impact on the respect and regard which others will have for you, your families and institutions which you represent. It will have bearing on your success,” the President posited.

The Head of State went on to note that discipline was the key to success in military affairs – and this could not be overemphasised. He added that personal discipline was even more vitally important, telling the ranks that if they brought disrepute to themselves, ultimately the image of the organisation they serve would be impacted.

“I urge you to be the best of examples. I urge you to be the best of leaders and to exhibit the leadership qualities that have been instilled in you; to be steadfast and strong in standing up for the principles that you would have learnt; to withstand any storm that may come your way in defence of what is right, in defence of honour, in defence of dignity, and in defence of this beautiful land we call home here – Guyana,” he implored.

According to President Ali, many before have served not only the Force but the country outstandingly and left their mark and their print. He told the ranks that they were joining an organisation with a vision that was strategically aligned to national development priorities and whose vision was integrated into national planning. This, he noted, is to ensure sustainable development, ensure a society in which all must prosper, ensure all live in an environment and country that is secure, and to ensure that the country which they have sworn to serve and its people would be proud and grateful to them; and would, in turn, respect them and have great pride in the work they were doing.

The Commander-in-Chief further indicated to the officers in Wednesday’s commissioning parade, and all those in uniform, that they must be part of national development. To this end, he outlined that the country, through his Government and the Armed Forces, will ensure the welfare of ranks was similarly looked after and enhanced. In fact, he noted that this was already happening with more ranks being sent regionally and internationally on a record number of training programmes over the last two years.

President Ali assured the officers that this would continue while telling them to look forward to more benefits from his Administration.

“I urge you never to stop, never to give up – make use of the opportunities that are before you, continue on your academic pathway. Build a strong and academic future – not only for this institution but for yourselves and your families. I want to assure you that as your Commander-in-Chief, I would lead the charge in the coming years, the dignity, the honour and pride that comes with this uniform will be upheld in a way in which your welfare, your salaries would reflect the honour which you truly deserve.

“The leadership of the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Fire Service and even the Guyana Prison Service and I, we’ve been working on a strategic plan that must see all of you comfortable. We will support you in your aspirations of owning your own homes, we will support in your aspirations of achieving academic excellence, we will support you in advancing your lives. All we ask of you is to be the best you can be and to be true patriots and to be true representation of the dignity that comes with the uniform that you carry,” the Head of State posited.

The commissioning activities for SOC 53 and ROC 17 commenced on Tuesday with a church service at Base Camp Ayanganna and ended with the commissioning parade during which the participants were presented with their new badges of rank – the Officers’ Star.
In addition to decorating the ranks with their new badges, the Commander-in-Chief also presented awards to the officers who were outstanding during the two courses.