Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Dr. Ivelaw Griffith is recommending a review of the current retirement age for members of the Disciplined Forces, with the aim of allowing the nation to benefit from the skills of its servicemen and women.
“This old British rationale has outlived its usefulness. There ought to be a revision of the time that allows the nation to benefit from the skills. This 55, 60, 70 thing is not in the context of modern society and what we should be doing,” he said, while attending a signing ceremony at Base Camp Ayangana on Thursday.
He believes there are great opportunities for gainful employment and utilization of capabilities and skills of military men and women.
This is not the first time that Dr. Griffith has made this pitch. He offered the same recommendation when he testified before the Veteran’s Affairs Commission of Inquiry last year.
While the report has been handed over to the government for which action is yet to be taken, the University’s Vice Chancellor believes the leadership of the Guyana Defence Force could consider the possibility.
He said the current age of retirement within the Commonwealth Caribbean for members of the armed forces is a “sad reality” that does not allow the nation to benefit from the skills, assets, and capabilities of members of its armed forces.
The Chancellor believes the University of Guyana can play a role in preparing members of the disciplined forces for the next stages of their journey, prior to retirement.
He said these men and women should be better positioned to take their skills and assets from the armed forces and leverage some additional skills so life after retirement is beneficial, not only for economic benefit but for gainful employment and utilization of their skills.
Outside of the Veteran Affairs Commission of Inquiry report and recommendations, the University’s Principal believes it is also a matter that the GDF’s leadership should consider.
“Within a year of transitioning and moving to retirement [the University] can help them to be better positioned for gainful economic employment,” he added.
On Thursday morning, Dr. Griffith joined Chief of Staff, Brigadier Patrick West for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Guyana and the Guyana Defence Force.
The MOU seeks to enhance the academic component of the GDF’s Standard Officers Course.
The Chief of Staff said he was pleased with the collaboration that will not only benefit this batch of Officers but scores of future batches.
He anticipates the development of more rounded officers.
The Officers will be trained by lecturers at Base Camp Stephenson and on successful completion will be awarded a General Study Associate Degree.
It is hoped that through this level of academic teaching, Officers will be better positioned to take up leadership roles within the Force.
The first batch of about 40 Officers will begin training this November.