By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – President Donald Ramotar has urged the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) to never lose sight of its need to secure independence, protect territorial integrity and assist in maintaining law and order within Guyana’s borders.
The Commander – in – Chief who was at the time speaking at the opening of the Annual Officers’ Conference – 2014 said there is also the need for the Army to better understand its mission and role in the context of defence and national development.
“While diplomacy is our first line of defence, the Army must always be prepared,” he said.
Ramotar reminded of peaceful solution that was met with Suriname over maritime border disputes while pointing to increased bilateral relations at all levels in this regard.
The President further stated “while we cannot predict the timing or source of a national threat we must always be ready, there is no room for complacency… to be prepared remains the most formidable line of defence.”
He said there was also the need for the Force to expand its roles and analyze and update the current and existing threats facing Guyana.
President Ramotar underscored that the theme under which the conference was being held – “towards greater operational readiness for national defence and security” – was fitting and captures the most immediate task for the GDF while giving his full support to Chief of Staff Brigadier Mark Phillips in this regard.
The President said of concern to him was security in Guyana’s hinterland and offshore where acts or piracy are prevalent.
On a separate note, the Head of State urged the officers of the GDF to ensure they maintain a sound reputation and favorable image in the eyes of the public lest they lose confidence in the Army.
“This is not a given, it must be earned and we must safeguard from acts of distrust,” he added. President Ramotar went onto decry the occasional instances of unprofessional conduct by some members of the Force.
He gave his Government’s commitment to ensuring the technical and human resources of the Force are sufficiently maintained.