(GINA) The men and women who serve in the nation’s joint services are to receive an extra month’s salary, President Donald Ramotar, announced when he addressed hundreds of soldiers, at Camp Stephenson, Timehri on Thursday as they participated in their annual Christmas luncheon.
The President noted that it was his first visit to the base and said he hopes to visit other locations. He said that development is not possible without security; hence the Guyana Defence Force’s (GDF) role is central to this.
Mention was made of the fact that training was more than just being physically fit, as he welcomed the news that ranks were embarking on more training courses to equip themselves in various skills. Government, PresidentRamotar, said is committed to equipping ranks with more “modern tools”, with which to do their jobs. As he referred to recent terror attacks and mass killings in Pakistan and Mexico, he insisted that security is not just about securing borders, “it seems to me that more and more, we have to build cooperation, between the forces in the security sector and be able to come to each other’s assistance from time to time”.Government has invested a lot in the military and there are a lot of skilled ranks, the president pointed out, “therefore it seems to me it would a waste of resources if we do not use those resources to strengthen other areas in our security sector….this is part of the whole general thrust of securing our nation so that we can develop and move forward”.
The need to build the local economy was also stressed by the president, so that among other benefits, the army would be able to be well equipped with what is needed for a modern force. Guyana has seen the rebuilding of some of its infrastructure, but more and new ones are needed to “open the possibility for more rapid economic growth”. These projects, he said included the hydro electricity dam, a deep water harbour and an expanded international airport.In concluding, his address to the officers and other ranks, President Ramotar urged them to continue to uphold the good name of the GDF, even though some, a minute group, may seek to “soil the name” of the organisation. He reminded those gathered that their job is to serve the people and country, “and it is in service that we will bring glory to the name of this organisation”.
Addressing his ranks, Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips said that 2014 was a good year for the military, noting that Base Camp Stephenson is the main operating staging and training base. Ranks have trained hard and conducted more courses than in many previous years, he added. TheGDF head congratulated the Air Corps which he said managed to keep itsSkyVan aircraft airborne thus effecting savings of approximately $20million.The Coast Guard also received special mention for maintaining the seaworthiness of the vessel, the GDF Essequibo over the year.
Brigadier Phillips said that theGDF is the people’s army, and will work under the strategic direction of the president in a multi-agency approach with other joint services. He also assured the president of the GDF’s commitment to the defence and security of Guyana particularly as the upcoming general and regional elections are due to occur.The occasion saw the Commander-in-Chief joining senior officers and ranks to serve meals to junior ranks and interact with them.