‘The military will play a bigger role in national development’ -President Ali tells Army


Commander-in-Chief and President of Guyana Dr Irfaan Ali on Monday pinned five newly promoted Officers of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) with their new badges of rank as he urged them to see themselves not only as distinguished men and women in the Army but to play a key role in the community and national development.

Those Officers pinned by the President, at a simple ceremony at State House, were Colonel Gary Beaton who was promoted to the rank of Substantive Brigadier and Lieutenant Colonels Ronald Hercules, Julius Skeete, Omar Khan and Kenlloyd Roberts, who were all promoted to the rank of Substantive Colonel.

Four of the Officers, except for Colonel Julius Skeete, were also awarded the Military Service Medal. Colonel Skeete received his national award in 2018.

In his address to the Officers, President Ali said the promotions that were made official today were long overdue and are necessary to strengthen the leadership of the GDF. He noted that the elevation of these officers manifests the Defence Board’s intention to ensure the Force is continuously manned by a team of professional and highly motivated officers.

“I congratulate Brigadier Gary Beaton on his appointment. His promotion is duly deserved. I commend him for his outstanding and committed service. His service is worthy of emulation. His elevation to the rank of Brigadier should serve as an incentive to others to strive for greater professionalism and excellence in the discharge of their duties. I also extend congratulations to the other newly appointed Colonels. Their promotions are meritorious and overdue. I charge these five officers to give their full support to the acting Chief of Staff who retains my confidence. Other promotions will follow in the future,” the President said.

The Commander-in-Chief said promotions are essential to entrench a system of meritocracy and to reward performance, qualification and experience and his Government will ensure that it adopts a policy to ensure that all those deserving of promotion are so elevated.

“The second purpose of today’s ceremony was to confer the Military Service Medal on four officers. The Constitution of Orders of Guyana at Article 32 (1) provides that the Military Service Medal may be awarded in respect of military service by Members of the Guyana Defence Force in action or other distinguished services beyond the call of duty. As President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and in the exercise of the duties of that office, I was pleased to confer the award to [these Officers]. I congratulate the recipients; they are richly deserving of this honour. The Nation acknowledges and salutes their splendid service,” the President said.

Meanwhile, President Ali said as the country moves forward, the Defence Board has commenced discussions on how the military and the men and women of the Armed Forces can become more integrated into their communities and how their service can be and will be utilised at the level of communities.

“Guyanese must not only see these distinguished men and women in uniform as just members of the Army. They must see you as a key and integral part of [the] development, of their community and national development. Our military is blessed with great men and women, with tremendous skill sets and experience and the know-how. The time has come for us to harness this great potential in our military to uplift and build communities all across the country,” he said.

The Head of State also said the Government would like to make the military more community-oriented, engaged and aligned with national development goals, particularly as Guyana continues to emerge as an oil economy.

“We must think outside the box as we charter a course where the military will be actively and integrally involved in the development shift and advancement of our country, especially with the oil and gas sector, new security challenges, border challenges. The military must play a major role in the emerging needs of our country,” he said.

Members of the Defence Board, including the Prime Minister Brigadier Mark Phillips, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Anil Nandlall and Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Robeson Benn also attended the ceremony. (Office of the President)

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