More soldiers to be academically trained in oil & gas, climate change

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As Guyana becomes a major oil and gas producer, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) will be enrolling more of its members in academic programmes that are aligned with the field and in the area of climate change.

The GDF on Thursday celebrated its 55th anniversary and during a simple ceremony to commemorate the milestone at the Officer’s Mess, Base Camp Ayanganna, President Irfaan Ali said the soldiers need to be trained in accordance with the developmental needs of the country. This, he said, will help them in defending the country’s territory.

The President said that systems will soon be in place to facilitate more soldiers being registered in academic programmes.

In his feature address as Commander in Chief, President Ali said that the GDF would have a pivotal role to play in the emergence of a new Guyana.  He pointed to its human resource capacity, which he said: “was extremely important.”

“It is important that within the army we have experts in oil and gas. It is important that within the army, we have experts in oil and gas-related disasters. It is important that have experts in climate change. It is important we have experts in GIS mapping…I’ve already discussed with the Chief of Staff an aggressive programme in ensuring we get more army officers, more soldiers registered in academic programmes that are aligned to the development needs of our country.”

Commander in Chief of the armed forces, President Irfaan Ali interacts with ranks of the GDF (Photo: Office of the President/November 19, 2020)

The President noted that the milestone celebration should be seen as an opportunity for renewed commitment, renewed loyalty, renewed spirit and the renewal of collective energies in ensuring that the next 55 years and beyond can be celebrated under the glorious cloud of knowing that national development was at the forefront.

President Ali also pointed to the importance of collective awareness and knowledge of the country’s development trajectory as well as the factors that pose a threat to overall development.

“We can only develop and defend that development trajectory if we are aware of where they are and if we are aware of the development that lies ahead. We have to be aware, not only of the economic prosperity that lies ahead, we have to be aware of every single sector, we have to be aware of our threats…climate change is a threat, and we have to be aware of the impact it can have on our country.”

He said that the Joint Forces will also benefit from the 20,000 scholarships which will be offered over the next five years.

Commander in Chief of the armed forces, President Irfaan Ali addressing ranks of the GDF (Photo: Office of the President/November 19, 2020)

“You have tremendous human resource potential that I’m going to tap in to as Commander in Chief. All of this of course should lead us to be better citizens. But I believe strongly to be better citizens, the government has some responsibilities. And you have some, all of us have some personal responsibility.”

President Ali reminded those gathered that regardless of where executive power lies, it is their right as citizens to participate in the country’s development process.

“I believe, very strongly, that together we have to build a solid partnership and that partnership has underlying goals: the protection of our country, the advancement of our country, and the development of the citizens of Guyana. Once we all subscribe to this, these noble aspirations in service, I think we can all hold our heads high and know that we have done our best, and you can depend on us as a strong partner, moving forward.”

Meanwhile, the Army’s Chief of Staff, Brigadier Godfrey Bess also used the opportunity to assure the Head of State that the GDF aims to continue its transformation in order to become resolutely capable of defending the country against all threats.

“The security, safety and stability of our nation have now become much more important. There is now much more at stake for us to secure. There’s much more to be done to ensure the continued viability of our nation and the safety and prosperity of our citizens.”

Brigadier Bess also expressed gratitude to the President for his continued support and commitment.

Observations to mark the 55th anniversary commenced earlier this month and are being held under the theme, “Together we toiled to arrive at fifty-five with greater efficiency for National Security.” (Extracted and modified from Office of the President)

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