H. E. Brigadier David Granger: Minister of Public Security Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan; Minister of Legal Affairs Mr Basil Williams; Minister of State Mr. Joseph Harmon; I don’t think all the members of the Defence Board are here. Chief of Staff of the Police Force Brigadier Patrick West, the Generals, the Inspector General, that’s the Quartermaster General of the Force and other senior officers, newly commissioned officers, members of the media.
I am happy to be here this morning to preside over this sacred ceremony which I’m sure the new officers will remember for the rest of their lives. It is perhaps the most sacred ceremony that the officers will ever attend in their entire military careers, the ceremony of the presentation of their instruments of commission. Later on this afternoon of course there will be the formal parade but that simply adds additional consecration to what is already a fact.
It is a very touching moment for all of us and I think every commissioned officer will remember and two weeks ago I reminded the Chief of Staff that when I was at Officer Cadet School he was about to be born, so there is a huge generation gap but we still remember when we received our instruments of commission and became commissioned officers in the Guyana Defence Force, in our own national army.
This of course is an important rite of passage, it is an ancient ritual and in armies all over the world officers are commissioned and this commission distinguishes them from other ranks. Warrant officers received warrants but the instrument of commission signifies that the officer is not just a commissioned officer but that he has special responsibilities to perform.
So he receives an ancient parchment printed in medieval script called Old English and it contains the words that I reposed special trust in your loyalty, courage and good conduct, and these words testify to the relationship between Commander in Chief and Officers. The Defence Act of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana vests authority in me as President to enable me to grant you the state commission; nobody else can under the law.
This parchment however is not a graduation certificate. It does not signify a successful completion of a training course. In fact it is a lawful licence which enables you to perform your function. It reposes in you the trust to exercise authority over your subordinates; it enables you not only to demand obedience of your subordinates but also to obey your superiors.
So this morning it is my pleasant duty to grant you a successful graduate of the Standard Officers Course and the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School this instrument of commission in accordance with the laws of Guyana. Allow me therefore to remind you of your obligation to observe the defence force’s five core values; duty, discipline, identity, integrity and loyalty.
I remind you also of your responsibility to obey the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic, to obey the Defence Act, to obey the laws of Guyana and to practice the values and standards of the Guyana Defence Force which you have learnt during your course of instruction at the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School.
Today you have been given an extra coin which signifies that Guyana is a ‘green’ state and that coin which you have in your possession should remind you as you move around this country, of your responsibility not only to the state but also to the people and the environment.
I thank you.