– Announces scholarships for 19 ranks at GDF’s Annual Christmas Lunch
Georgetown, Guyana—(December 22, 2021) His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali has reinstated a one-month tax-free salary as a bonus for all members of the Joint Services.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces made the announcement at the Guyana Defence Force’s (GDF) Annual Christmas Lunch at Base Camp Ayanganna this afternoon, where he also disclosed that 19 ranks would receive scholarships from the Government.
President Ali reminded the soldiers that prior to assuming office, he had promised to return their one-month tax-free bonus that was rescinded by the previous administration. Last December, a few months into his term, he had restarted the practice by granting a two-week tax-free bonus.
“This year, we’re returning the full month, tax-free bonus to you. And let me be very clear on this because I want to be clear to all those who are listening—we are not returning the one-month tax-free bonus for any other reason, but because you deserve it because you work hard for it and for those in our society who believe you can just take things away, and who believe that you can take things away from the soldier, I challenge them to go spend a year in some of the locations and live the life you do in protection of your country and then they will know whether you deserve it.”
This bonus, the President explained, will be for all members of the Joint Services.
The President also charged the 19 different units to pick a representative each for Government scholarships.
“We are also empowering you to make decisions, and we are empowering you to work as a team.”
INVESTMENT IN CITIZENS
The Head of State also reminded the ranks that although numerous investments have been made to the military, police force, fire service and the prison service—he prides his Government’s investments in developing its human capital.
He also spoke about the aggressive housing and educational programmes in place and promised their expansion.
“For a matter of fact, this year, we have had the most officers and soldiers being trained or advancing their educational aspirations in the history of this military, and this is just the beginning because we are going to support you in all your education aspirations.”
The President reiterated that the Government will invest in infrastructure at all the army bases to enable the ranks to be able to do distance and online learning.
“So all of you would have an equal opportunity, an equal shot at improving yourself and building a better prospect for your family. This is the goal and the vision.”
The President noted that this approach by the government is going to continue into the new year at an accelerated pace.
PROUD OF THE MILITARY
The Head of State also showered appreciation on the ranks for their involvement in community work and their overall leadership.
He reminded them that their duties are not only to protect citizens and the country and its borders but to also actively integrate themselves in the national development strategy of the country.
“Today, I stand here, and I want to celebrate with you the many roads, bridges that you have contributed in building in our country this year. Whilst we’re here, you’re even working, and you’re showing by example that you can work the long hours even in the night to build the median right out here on Carifesta [Avenue].”
He said that early in 2022, there is going to be a joint collaboration between the GPF, the GDF and the private sector to launch a massive clean-up campaign of the city.
“We will show them by our example that we can do it and if we do it as a people, then those who are in the leadership position whether at the NDC, the Town Council or the City Council, they must follow with their leadership in keeping it the way we will hand it to them. We will demonstrate that love for country and patriotism go far beyond what one may consider the military defence of our borders. It is about how we see ourselves. It is about how we respect ourselves. It is about how we respect the communities we live in. It is about how we portray Guyana to those who visit our shores.”