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GDF Medical Corps reaches 800 more Guyanese through community partnerships


The Guyana Defence Force Medical Corps continues to impact the lives of more Guyanese, as it works in partnership with civil society organisations to bring health services to communities. The latest communities to be impacted were Cotton Tree on the West Coast of Berbice, and Cane Grove, at Mahaica.


At Cotton Tree, on Wednesday, July 23, GDF’s 16-member medical team, together with staffers of the Cheddi Jagan Dental School, partnered with US-registered NGO SaveAbee to provide some 400 residents with a range of medical services, including, random blood sugar testing, haemoglobin checks, blood group determination, dental checks and HIV Counselling and Testing among others.

On Saturday, July 26, another 400 residents at Cane Grove, Mahaica, gained medical and dental treatment, as GDF’s 23-member medical team partnered with the Guyana Medical Relief Inc. (GMRI) out of LA, California. During this outreach 115 lab tests were also done. Commenting of the performance of the GDF’s team, GNMRI Chief Operations Officer, Mr. Sharir Chan was effusive in his praise. “On a scale of one to ten, where ten is the highest possible score, the team has earned a ten!” he said. “Their performance was excellent; better than expected! All the members of the team were very disciplined and professional in their approach and demonstrated that they cared about what they were doing. As a result, we are considering further collaboration with the GDF in the future,” he added.

The Guyana Defence Force is proud to be in service to the people of Guyana, and remains committed, to partnering with organisations which seek to positively impact the lives of Guyanese citizens. 

Ranks officiating in Digicel football competition

Sergeant (SGT) Maurees Skeete, Corporals Monica Welcome and Delon Young and Private Colin Mcpherspon are serving as  Match Officials (Referees and Assistant Referees), in the Fourth Annual Digicel School’s Football Competition .

The four GDF ranks have 11 years of combined experience. SGT Skeete, emerged from playing women’s football to seek excellence as a match official. She dedicated herself to learning the Laws of The Game, every referee’s “arc of fire” and has honed her skills on the field over the past six years. Her passion and dedication, coupled with her love for “the beautiful game” have resulted in her selection for and appointment as a FIFA Referee earlier this year. Corporal Welcomehas been active as an Assistant Referee for the past four years and has been broadening her knowledge and sharpening her skills on and off the field with appointments as a match official  at several local football competitions.

Corporal (CPL) Young and  Private (PTE) Mcpherson are quite new to refereeing, each with only about six months experience to their credit. Yet, according to SGT Skeete the more seasoned of the crew, they are off to a good start, learning quickly and adapting well. “Corporal Young and Private Mcpherson have been playing football for some time and Young also previously served as the GDF’s goalkeeper. I am heartened that they have shown an interest in developing careers as Referees. This is an aspect of football that holds much promise for young persons who are interested, to develop and go a far way,” she added.

Through the Guyana Football Referees Council, both Young and McPherson have gained their basic training as referees. They have since been gaining post-training experience and have officiated at several matches in various tournaments.

Much like playing as a member of a team, excellence is measured by performance. A referee becomes excellent by gaining a superior knowledge of the Laws of The Game and also by executing that superior knowledge in practical terms on the field.

To date, in this Digicel Competition, SGT Skeete has officiated at 15 games while her colleagues have also racked up almost the same number of appearances.



Day Care graduates 14

The Margaret Rose Arthur Day Care Centre graduated 14 of its charges, at a simple graduation ceremony on Friday, July 4, at Base Camp Ayanganna. Much to the delight of the assembled parents and guardians, Day Care staff, and others who were present at the ceremony, the precocious members of the graduating class of 2014, donned outfits, to perform a special song and a skit.

According to the Centre’s administrator, Ms, Shauntel Maloney, enrolment increased some one hundred and ninety-one percent, from an original 12 infants in 2012, to the 35 in its care today. Caregivers at the centre provide quality care for their charges, engaging them in several indoor and outdoor activities meant to develop and enhance their academic, psychomotor, emotional and social skills. Some of these engagements also involved trips to the Botanical Gardens, the Zoological Park and the National Museum. Ms. Maloney said that, now that the toddlers are prepared to head off to nursery school and are leaving the Centre, they will surely be missed.

In brief remarks, Patron of the Centre, Warrant Officer (ret’d) Margaret Rose Arthur, recalled that when she enlisted in 1967 and throughout her 25 years of service in the GDF, there was no Day Care facility. “Today, it is great to see that the GDF has kept its promise,” she said.  “When I look at these children, I see their potential. We do not know what God has put into them, but, it is our responsibility and the privilege of the teachers and caregivers, to help bring their potential to reality. You the parents have a very important role to play too. You have to support the teachers to mould and shape your children. Indeed they can become teachers, the Chief of Staff or even the President of Guyana,” she added.

The Centre’s care is provided along the time-line of a typical school year, i:e from September to July annually. Admissions to the Centre are done as places become available. As such, with 14 having graduated, fourteen more children will be admitted to the Centre’s roster. Additionally, if places become available during an academic year, the Centre will admit children accordingly.

GDFS Essequibo returns to high seas

The Guyana Defence Force flagship, the GDFS Essequibo, is fully seaworthy and back on the high seas, in service to the people of Guyana, following several months during which, she underwent much-needed maintenance.

Commanding Officer (CO) Coast Guard, Commander Gary Beaton, said that it became necessary to effect repairs to the  vessel’s stern-tube seal and propellers. He explained that, the stern seal tube is a mechanism connected to the propeller shaft which enables the efficient operation of the propellers.

The seal tube, must always be filled with oil. If the seal on the tube is damaged  spillage of oil from the tube will occur, thereby polluting the waterways in which the vessel operates. “In this regard it was important for us to have the tube repaired,” the CO said. “The repairs to the tube were done with the assistance of the GDF’s Brazilian military counterparts while the propellers were repaired by a local firm.”

Additionally, in order to ensure full seaworthiness, one of the two generators which were ‘offline’  had to be rehabilitated in order to meet the regulatory requirement which stipulates that, two of the vessel’s three generators must be operational at all times.

The Commander explained that, the period of repairs and maintenance, provided a solid opportunity for Coast Guard maintenance personnel to enhance their knowledge and professional skills, by working alongside others.

The GDFS Essequibo was acquired in  September, 2001.



GDF impacts Cashew Island through Education



Continuing on its mission of ‘Service’ to the nation, the Guyana Defence Force, has over the last three years, been impacting the lives of members of a small Amerindian Community in Region 6, in a way that will have lasting benefits. Cashew Island, located in New River, approximately two and a half miles from Base Camp Jaguar, is a community with an average population of 80 persons, including children.

Prior to 2011, there was no school in the community and the persons there spoke their traditional languages , Trio and Wai- Wai. The Toshao of the community, Kenke Yiamo ,who has functioned as a guide for GDF personnel during patrols, requested the Force’s assistance in teaching his people.

Now Major ( ret’d) Ivan McNaughton and his wife , Yvette McNaughton , a trained teacher, were  re-employed by the Force to teach the children of that community.

The children  are being taught reading, basic mathematical and composition skills.

“When we first started, it was very difficult for us to communicate with them. Language was the major barrier. Today, even the little five year olds understand English. Those who have absorbed the language faster, help each other during test time with translations . The parents are also very eager to have their children learn,” Maj (ret’d) Mc Naughton stated. He added that even though the school population is meager, the work is substantial.

Four of the older children have since been brought to Georgetown to pursue Vocational training.

He noted too that they have since implemented evening classes at the school for several parents who are being taught Reading and Basic Mathematics. “Our biggest wish is for the children in particular, to learn to read and write properly so that they can come out to further their studies. It is my hope that they 0will return to their communities and help out as skilled people are really needed there,” he added.

The Guyana Defence Force has been the driving Force in contributing to the welfare of this community, from the provision of employment and infrastructure to medical care.