Georgetown, Guyana – (April 2, 2017) President David Granger, today, attended the Third Anniversary Church Service of the Guyana Veterans’ Legion (GVL) at the St. Sidwell’s Anglican Church. The service was also attended by members of the Legion as well as Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Patrick West, other senior GDF officers and the Director of Prisons, Mr. Carl Graham.
The GVL was established in April 2014 as a result of the amalgamation of the Guyana Legion and the Ex-GDF Association of Guyana. President of the GVL, Lt. Col. (ret’d) George Gomes, in an invited comment after the service, said that since the merge of the organisation, the GVL has aimed to host a church service every year. “We need as much of God’s blessings as possible so we always ensure we have a church service. I wish the general membership and our well-wishers in the wider community God’s blessings and we call on all old soldiers who are not members of the Legion to come join us. In unity there is strength,” he said.
Mr. Gomes said that the GVL inherited 20 World War II Veterans from the former Guyana Legion and 85 GDF veteran ‘shut ins’ from the former Ex-GDF Association and that the GVL is working with the Government to ensure that the needs of these persons are achieved. “We are eagerly awaiting the report of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) that was headed by Col. Desmond Roberts. We know that that includes good things for us and we are waiting for the results to be published and for the implementation of what would be beneficial to us,” he said.
The CoI was the initiative of President David Granger who called for its establishment in order to examine the conditions and circumstances facing veterans of the GDF, the Guyana People’s Militia and the Guyana National Service (GNS); and to look into the living conditions of veterans and make recommendations for improvements. In 2013, a Motion for the creation of the Commission was approved in the National Assembly under the previous Administration, but did not materialise until President Granger took office. The final report of the COI was handed to Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon by Col. Roberts on March 3, 2017.
President David Granger has, since taking up Office, pledged to ensure that the needs of Guyana’s veterans are better served in return for their service to country. At a Remembrance Day reception held on November 2015, the President donated $1 million to the GVL and announced that the Legion would benefit from an annual state subvention. The President also announced the establishment of a National Veteran’s Commission, a Veterans’ Trust and a Veterans’ Department, the latter of which is located at Base Camp Ayanganna. “The State acknowledges and accepts its obligation to assist our veterans to ensure that they, too, can enjoy a good life. The State will help to open opportunities for veterans when they leave active military service,” the President said at that event.