‘Well-staffed’ Veterans Affairs Dept. for Veterans Legion

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In honour and recognition of their service, military veterans will soon benefit from a “well-staffed” Veterans Affairs Department, monthly health checkups and a review of the retirement process.

Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Omar Khan made the announcement on Friday during his address at a wreath-laying ceremony to honour military veterans in observance of veteran’s day.

He also pledged a $1M contribution to the Guyana Veterans Legion and committed to ensuring that “much more needed” repairs will be done to the building in 2024.

Additionally, Brigadier Khan noted that as part of the GDF’s 60th anniversary in 2025, a memorial will be erected for members of the GDF who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The commitments, the Chief of Staff said are geared towards ensuring that veterans can lead a comfortable life after retirement.

Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Omar Khan paid tribute to soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty (Photo: News Room/ November 17, 2023)

“We are gathered here in remembrance of those we have lost and we are also paying tribute to you, to the lives you, our veterans, have led and continue to do…to the courage you have shown,” the Chief of Staff said.

He added, “We will not forget and we cannot forget you are part of the fabric of the force as any of us in uniform. The force is where it is because of your service. We remain indebted to each of you…Thank you for being willing to risk everything to wear this uniform while you have served.”

Veteran’s Day is observed annually to honour all brave and fallen soldiers.

On this day, wreaths are usually laid at the Veterans Monument which is situated on the Front Lawns of Base Camp Ayanganna to acknowledge and remember the service of soldiers who died in the line of duty.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, told the veterans that their welfare is a priority to the government.

“You have a voice in the cockpit of political power of this country as long as I am Prime Minister…We are very impatient when it comes to dealing with welfare matters of all Guyanese and we also very impatient when it comes to dealing with welfare matters of you the veterans who serve this great nation,” the Prime Minister said.

Prime Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips lays a wreath at the Veterans Monument on the Front Lawns of Base Camp Ayanganna (Photo: News Room/ November 17, 2023)

The Prime Minister noted that the government will continue to allocate the necessary funding through the GDF to support and possibly expand the Guyana Legion home.

“…Let us fully utilise the home and if there is room or if there is a demand for another veteran home, we are willing to listen to the Guyana Veterans Legion and implement that,” the Prime Minister said.

Meanwhile, the President of the Guyana Veterans Legion, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret’d) George Gomes reminded that the month of November is designated to serve veterans and members of the army.

As the only Veteran’s organisation in the country, Colonel Gomes requested that the Defence Act be amended to include the Veterans Legion.

“There is no mention of veteran relations in the Defence Act and it is our desire to have this omission rectified,” he said.

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