Georgetown, Guyana – (June 27, 2019) President David Granger, this morning, told the 52 newly commissioned officers of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) that the Force must continuously and consistently train persons to assume leadership roles.

The Force, he said, through its training programmes, “must produce men and women who embody its core values.” The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces was at the time speaking at the presentation of Instruments of Commission Ceremony for the Standard Officers’ Course No. 50 and the Reserve Officers’ Course No. 16.

“Training is the foundation of a professional and proficient Force. It is essential for ensuring the success of military missions; for enhancing operational effectiveness and for developing physical endurance. Training is fundamental to military service and that is why your military service begins with a training course here at the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School [CUPOCS]. Should training be neglected, standards would fall, troops’ morale would decline and deviant behaviour would corrupt the Force’s members and corrode the competence of the Force,” President Granger said after presenting the instruments in accordance with the Defence Act.

Further, the Head of State said the GDF is building on its traditions and techniques of training in our local terrain – in our grasslands, in our highlands, in rainforests, in our wetlands and in our waterways.

The GDF, he added, is instilling the values of duty, discipline, identity, integrity and loyalty befitting officers and soldiers.

Duty, he said, obliges officers to display dedication in the performance of their functions; Discipline is the primary means of maintaining organisational cohesiveness; Identity determines how officers view their comrades, their corps and their country; Integrity demands honesty in officers’ relations with their superiors and subordinates; and Loyalty binds officers to the service of their country.

Local training of officer cadets started 50 years ago in 1969 and the CUPOCS was established in September 1981.

“Guyana has welcomed cadets from the Caribbean states of Antigua and Barbuda, from Barbados, from Belize and St Kitts-Nevis over the past five decades,” he said.

The Standard Officers’ Course (SOC) the President said, aims at inculcating the Force’s values and standards in cadets and to develop their power of command and leadership and their service to the country. The SOC has been improved continuously and now includes an enhanced academic programme and intensified jungle, paratrooper and equitation training.

The Reserve Officers’ Course, he added, has been reintroduced after a hiatus of a decade. Members of the Guyana People’s Militia are active and receiving training in all ten administrative regions so that they could respond effectively to the need for assistance, including in the disaster relief.

“The technical corps are being improved. The acquisition of light reconnaissance aircraft and inshore patrol vessels have augmented the capabilities of the Air Corps and Coast Guard, respectively. The Intelligence Corps and Signal Corps are being reformed to improve intelligence, surveillance and communications. The Engineer Corps is being recapitalised and has received training while working along the Brazilian Army in the drilling of wells in the Rupununi,” the Head of State noted.

Moreover, he said defence cooperation is being pursued with a number of friendly countries and is unlocking training opportunities for all ranks.

“The rewards of these investments and partnerships are evident – the Force is improving its capacity to deter aggression, defend national sovereignty and ensure a safe, secure and strong state,” the President said, as he charged the Officers with the stewardship of the Force.

President Granger reminded that the suppression of the Rupununi Rebellion and the defence of the New River Zone fifty years ago in 1969 exemplified the Guyana Defence Force’s military proficiency. Today, he said the Force’s operational capabilities which were based on supreme courage, superior organisation and superb training are being celebrated.

“Guyana remains a unitary and indivisible state because of the courage, competence and commitment of the Guyana Defence Force in these operations. These operations involved intelligent planning, intense training and innovative tactics,” he said.

Those operations, the President said, demonstrated the Force’s ability to respond to the threats of rebellion and territorial incursion. Their successes vindicated the efforts exerted, at the time, on developing a well-trained and highly-talented corps of officers and soldiers.

Additionally, President Granger said the GDF now has greater national reach and responsiveness. He pointed to Operation Armadillo which is aimed at protecting the country’s frontier communities. “Investors, on land and in our maritime zone, can be assured that the Force will employ every means at its disposal to protect their investments. Citizens can repose greater confidence in their Defence Force,” he asserted.

The Head of State, in congratulating the officers, said the conferral of the Instruments of Commission is a rite of passage which signals that each person is an officer of the state.

“Your commissions are not certificates merely to mark the successful completion of a training course. They constitute the lawful licence for you to exercise authority as officers of the Republic. An officer’s Commission demands trust, loyalty and good conduct. It requires each officer to exercise dutiful diligence and discipline and to demonstrate obedience to his or her superiors. Officers are challenged to uphold the motto of the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School – “I serve Guyana.” Officers are required, by their conduct to exemplify the School’s maxims – Courage, Discipline, Honesty, Loyalty, Steadfastness and Worth,” he stated while urging the new officers to be courageous, competent and committed to defend Guyana.

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