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GDF and UG sign MOU on academic partnership

The Guyana Defence Force and the University of Guyana have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at concretising the relationship between the two institutions. The MOU speaks directly to an academic partnership between the GDF and UG. Signing on behalf of the GDF was Chief of Staff Brigadier Patrick West, while UG Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith was the university’s signatory.

In brief remarks prior to the signing, Professor Griffith noted that the GDF is a critical partner of UG, and is consistent with its delivery of high service. Quoting George Santayana – “to know what people really think, pay attention to what they do, rather than to what they say…” the professor asked that we “…look at the evidence of the doing.” He pointed out that today’s signing of the MOU is evidence of the importance of education for Guyana’s Officers. Lauding the UG/GDF relationship, regarding institutional thrusts, he said, “We have a critical role in not only ensuring our nation’s individual mandate to us……there are many elements which will require educational collaboration which is critical and necessary, not simply desirable. There are other kinds of relationship building (as well).”

He also spoke to the possibility of the university and the GDF collaborating, to enable officers who are about to retire and move to a different phase of their lives, to leverage learning and skills in order to continue contributing to national development. In this regard he posited the need for a review of the age at which citizens retire, noting that in Guyana many retirees still have much that they can contribute toward nation building. The professor then thanked all the Officers of the GDF as well as his university team and several others, who have worked on the construction of the agreement and who will continue to work on its implementation.

In his remarks, Brigadier Patrick West expressed his pleasure at signing the MOU which, he said, “…will enhance the academic programme of Standard Officers Course #50 and future Standard Officers Courses, and, at the same time, develop the Agriculture Corps as a Research Centre with the University of Guyana. Brigadier West explained that since its formation in 1968, the Corps has evolved into a demonstration farm for schools and other educational institutions. The Agriculture Corps, he said, has also partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture on a national swine feeding programme. Brigadier West explained too, that the GDF/UG partnership with regard to the Agriculture Corps aims to facilitate academic cooperation, establish and implement mutually beneficial training programmes, and develop research collaborations.

Briefly outlining the formation and evolution of the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School, the Chief of Staff it was the Officer Cadet division of Training Corps which evolved into the first Officer Cadet School in the English-speaking Caribbean. “It was named in honour of the first Commander of the Force, Colonel Ulric Pilgrim, who charged the Cadets to aim for high standards, at the school’s establishment in September of 1981,” he observed.  “To date, forty-nine courses have been conducted. So as I sign, I do so being cognizant of the fact that I am building on the foundation which was laid by my predecessors,” he added.

Brigadier West explained that the GDF/UG  initiative was undertaken to ensure that  a more rounded and educated officer is prepared to fulfil his role in promoting Total National Defence. “In this regard,” he said, “the officer will not only be involved in a horizontal relationship between the Defence Force and the Militia and Police, but also a vertical relationship at the central and Regional levels. Additionally, the partnership intends to ensure the achievement of international comparability with the officer’s counterparts, and, given the ability at an earlier stage, the officer will be better positioned for more strategic deployment in an operational space. It will also limit the time away from work when officers have to go through critical learning and maturing stages,” he added.

Emphasising the forward progression for future Officer Training, the Chief of Staff pointed out that as a result of the GDF/UG collaboration, GDF Officer Training will be on par with other international programmes. ‘The duration of (Officer Cadet) training will now run for twenty-four months, and, upon graduation,  the officers will not only receive their Instruments of Commission to command and lead in this Force, but also an Associate Degree from the University of Guyana. We maintain that today we are still the only successful Officer Cadet programme in the English-speaking Caribbean and we will continue to support the training of officers for the Joint Services and the Caribbean,” he said.

Brigadier West thanked the members of the GDF Academic Board along with Professor Griffith and his team from the university for their commitment and dedication to seeing the historic agreement become a reality.

As it stands, the Officer Cadets currently on Standard Officers’ Course #50 are the first cohort to enjoy training under this agreement.

The signing of the MOU took place this morning at the Officer’s Mess at Base Camp Ayanganna. The University of Guyana team led by Professor Griffith included, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Engagement Professor Michael Scott, Principal Academic Engagement Officer Mrs. Sharon Roopchand-Edwards, Academic Officer for Partnerships and Internships Mr. Odwin Rutherford, Dean of Agriculture and Forestry Mr. Owen Bovell, and Assistant Registrar Admissions Ms. Nickalva Washington. The GDF team led by the Chief of Staff included Commandant Guyana People’s Militia Colonel Gary Beaton, Commanding Officer Training Corps Lieutenant Colonel Julius Skeete, Staff Officer One General One Lieutenant Colonel Lorraine Foster, Staff Officer One General Six Commander Roger Nurse, and Staff Officer One General Five (ag) Major Michael Shahoud.

25 receive Bursary Awards

Twenty-five young people, the children of Officers, Other Ranks and Civilian employees of the Guyana Defence Force, were today presented with Bursaries following their success at the National Grade Six Examinations. This year's top awardees were, Queens College student, Shelby Williams, the daughter of Sergeant Melissa Gomes; Ronuku Caulder, the son of Major Ron Caulder; and Anna Jeffers, daughter of Associate Force Chaplain, Civilian George Jeffers. Caulder and Jeffers are both attending the Bishops High School.

The presentation of the Bursaries, continues the Force's policy of tangibly recognising the academic achievements of the children of its members. They are meant to assist the students through-out their five-year sojourn at secondary school.   

COASTAL BN showcases GDF

Officers and Ranks of the GDF Coastal Battalion and the 31 Special Forces Squadron collaborated to teach students of the Guyana School of Agriculture the basics of survival in the jungle, on September 15, 2017.

Topics covered in the session included: Basic techniques for survival in the jungle; How to select a suitable site and setting up a camp; The preparation of a camp site; Methods of obtaining water, food and starting a fire; The construction of improvised jungle huts and shelters, and understanding what kind of kit and materials to pack for a trek in the jungle.

The session was very interactive and was welcomed by the students.

Meanwhile , on September 15, 2017 Officers and Ranks of the GDF Coastal Battalion also participated in the Education Day and Career Fair hosted by the Department of Education, Region Number One,  in Mabaruma.

The GDF showcased various pieces of kit and equipment used by its various Units and Departments. Additionally, the troops on the ground shared with visitors, relevant information regarding the operations of the Force, what it takes to be a part of this dynamic organization and the various career paths open to anyone who chooses a local military career. 

The Guyana Police Force, the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), the National Insurance Scheme, and the Region's Departments of Education and Health also participated in this event.

GPM Teen Camp 2017 positively impacts youths

One hundred and nineteen youths, aged 14 to 16 years, from Regions 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10, enjoyed a brief stint away from their homes and were positively impacted, at the Guyana People's Militia 2017 Teen Camp, from August 22 through 26. This group included 17 members of the Council of Friends of New Amsterdam (COFONA) under the leadership of Mr. Lincon Williams.

Following some basic regimentation to ensure that they understood and appreciated the disciplined environment, the youths were engaged in learning National Policy and Basic Jungle Survival Skills.

They also had regular Physical Training sessions which were designed to enhance their levels of fitness.  The GPM Teen Camp, is designed to allow youths from all over Guyana to benefit from the opportunity to see a part of their country they might otherwise never had, to socialise, and to begin a process of learning about the GPM and its role in the society. In addition, the Camp forms the incubator for their involvement as young patriots. In this regard, they gain an understanding of the importance of defending Guyana from internal and external threats. Further, the Camp helps them gain a greater appreciation of the military, and also lays the foundation for their consideration of careers in the military after they complete secondary education. 

Twenty-Six soldiers successfully complete Grade III Finance Course

Twenty six soldiers, are better equipped to function effectively and efficiently as Grade Three Finance Clerks, in any unit of the Guyana Defence Force, following their successful completion of the Grade Three Finance Course 2017.

PTE Rod Jeffrey of the 31 Special Forces graduated Best Student, while the Runner-Up Student award went to PTE Osama Mc Calman.

The graduation ceremony was held at the Lecture Hall at Base Camp Ayanganna, earlier today.