President David Granger on Wednesday met eleven scholarship awardees of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) who will soon travel to the People’s Republic of China to take up their scholarships.
The 11 Second Lieutenants will be pursuing studies in the fields of Industrial, Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering, Computer Science and Technology, Industrial, Electronic Information Engineering, Mechatronic Engineering, Bio-engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Chemical Engineering and Technology.
In his address to the awardees, President Granger said that the Defence Force is being restructured and reorganized to ensure that it is well-commanded, well-trained and well-equipped to perform this role.
The President said the Force’s technical corps – the Air Corps, Engineer Corps, Intelligence Corps, and Signal Corps as well as the Coast Guard– are being improved and retooled, as part of this restructuring and reorganization process.
President Granger said, “Improvements in the technical corps are necessary to develop a more modern and technologically-savvy Defence Force; to improve the Force’s operational and organizational capacity; to support the work of the non-technical arms of the Force; and to repel threats, including non-traditional threats along our borders.”
Moreover, the Head of State said the Defence Force “must be ready to react effectively to traditional threats – incursions and to other forms of interventions. It must be prepared also, to strengthen its capacity to respond to new and emerging threats, such as biological and chemical warfare, cyber threats, electronic warfare, and environmental hazards. ”
President Granger said too that Guyana’s doctrine of total national defence places emphasis, inter alia, on ensuring a body of scientifically-trained personnel to populate the technical arms of the Force. The continuous training of officers is a key element of this policy.
Similarly, Chief of Staff of the GDF, Brigadier Patrick West said that the 11 scholarships represent a historic milestone in the Defence Force.
He reminded that it was President Granger who charged the Force to explore opportunities for training and education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in order to develop the technical competence of its members and also to establish the Technical Corps.
“Some of these areas despite being new to the GDF are currently employed in the world at large. I am therefore certain that the education and exposure granted will see us beginning to achieve the aim of building the capacity of the Technical Corps,” Brigadier West said.
The Chief of Staff explained that the Force had only one prior instance where officers were granted extensive scholarships. Those awardees were members of SOC 16 who departed for Romaina and Russia immediately after commissioning in 1985.
Brigadier West thanked China’s Ambassador to Guyana, Chi Jianchun for the support provided to the Force.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Jianchun said with the scholarships Guyana and China’s cooperation is deepened.He urged the recipients to cherish the opportunities provided to them and to be good Guyanese ambassadors.
“Guyana has a bright future…Guyana and China have a great foundation…share your experiences,” the Ambassador said. (Ministry of the Presidency)