Major restructuring for GDF in coming weeks – President Ali

- utilisation of assets, technology & partnership among key areas of focus


Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali on Thursday announced that there will be changes in the operation of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) in the coming weeks in order to meet the demands of the environment.

And in doing this, he said key focus will be placed on assets, technology and partnership, all areas in which significant investments are being made to boost capacity of the defence force.

“Our work or functional efficiency, whether it’s the coast guard, air corps, over the next couple of weeks, a lot of attention will be placed on how we reorganise our work, how we reorient the structures to meet the demands that the new environment will now necessitate,” President Ali said.

The Commander-in-Chief made the disclosure as he was addressing the opening ceremony of the GDF Annual Officers’ Conference at Base Camp Ayanganna, Georgetown.

Command-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali with members of the GDF (Photo: Office of the President/February 8, 2024)

Over the next two days, officers will come together to discuss challenges faced last year and the plans for 2024.

In the 2024 budget, a sum of $42.2 billion has been allocated to the GDF.

The funds will be used to procure new assets for the army, including two aircraft, four helicopters and an offshore patrol vessel.

So to ensure efficiency and reliability, President Ali said the conference will focus on the shift in assets.

Command-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali (Photo: Office of the President/February 8, 2024)

“With the type of assets that we are investing in, there will be structural change. To whom much is given, much is expected,” the President said.

Equally important, the Commander-in-Chief said, is the enhancement of human resources and well as technology, so that the soldiers can utilise what is available to them.

“We are not in any arms race with any nation. While we are committing to recapitalising the force and enhancing its capacity, we do not intend to stretch our financial resources excessively to match the military expenditure to our neighbour to the west,” President Ali said.

He highlighted that the focus is on creating a “more agile” defence force that can adapt to changes.

“Our focus is on cultivating a more agile and adaptable force, one that leverages technological advances and prioritises deterrents over a military buildup,” he said.

Meanwhile, noting that 2023 has been the “most challenging” year for GDF, Chief-of-Staff Brigadier Omar Khan said under the guidance of President Ali’s defence policy, the army is set to build a strong, resilient force.

Chief-of-Staff Brigadier Omar Khan

Having lost a total of 13 soldiers in the line of duty last year, Brigadier Khan said the army’s human resource capability is being enhanced.

“We continue to improve on the service to our members including housing, counselling and career advancement,” the Chief-of-Staff said.

Brigadier Khan pointed out that presently the senior command of the GDF is made up of 40 percent women.

The conference is being held under the theme “Transforming to better confront present and future challenges, by enhancing awareness, adaptability and agility capabilities.

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