(1st November, 2015) H.E Brigadier David A. Granger: Ministers of the Government, members of the National Assembly, members of the Diplomatic Corps, retired Chiefs of Staff, Heads of Services, Heads of Foreign Military Delegations, veterans, members of the media, special invitees and most of all, officers and members of the Guyana Defence Force.
I am honoured today to be Commander-in-Chief as you celebrate your 50th Anniversary.
The entire Republic congratulates the Guyana Defence Force on this auspicious occasion. The Force came into being on the 1st November, 1965; at the time that Guyana was preparing to gain Independence from Great Britain.
The nation is eternally grateful to the men and women who continue to serve with commitment; with consistency and with courage in the Guyana Defence Force.
The Force has a duty under the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and I quote, “To defend national independence, to preserve the country’s sovereignty and integrity and guarantee the normal functioning of institutions and the security of citizens against any armed aggression.”
The Force, for 50 years, has admirably fulfilled this Constitutional obligation to the nation. The Force is functioning in strict compliance with the Defence Act; it has watched valiantly and vigilantly over our land and sea borders, it has protected our sovereignty and our territorial integrity.
The Air Corps has undertaken several missions of mercy and relief, and surveillance. The infantry has dutifully and diligently supported the civil power in maintaining order.
The Engineer Corps is being restructured to participate more fully in hinterland infrastructure.
The Coast Guard has controlled our territorial waters. Our special forces have launched innumerable search and rescue missions in the hinterland and the Reserve Force (Guyana People’s Militia) has supported and reinforced the regular force in its training and operations in accordance with the Defence Act.
Our national defence doctrine is one of peace. It is aimed at peaceful diplomacy and the detection and deterrence of armed aggression. Our doctrine combines all the elements of national power to preserve our sovereignty and to protect our territory. Our people, in this regard, will continue to combine its resources to support the Defence Force, confident in the knowledge that the Defence Force will never let the people down.
We are certain that the Defence Force in the future, as in the past, will always honour and uphold the Constitution. We are encouraged by the extraordinary example and eternal vigilance by the Force. We are assured by the unstinting and steadfast service of our soldiers. We are inspired by the Force’s values: discipline, duty, identity, integrity and loyalty; values which continue to guide our men and women in uniform in their daily lives.
The 50th Anniversary of our Defence Force finds us further along the road to consolidating our defence, reaffirming our democracy, protecting our territory and making Guyana a safer place for all of us. We owe a debt of gratitude to our soldiers and to our veterans for 50 years of service, 50 years of selflessness; fifty years of sacrifice.
We salute the Guyana Defence Force on this happy occasion. It is written, “…Be strong and of [a] good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
I give notice that as a token of the gratitude of the nation to our military men and women I intend to declare that today, the 1st November, this year and every year hereafter, shall be observed throughout the nation as ‘Defence Force Day’.
May God bless the Guyana Defence Force!
May God bless Guyana!
I thank you.