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DHQ leads Re-Greening Training











Defence Headquarters, led by Chief of Staff Brigadier Mark Phillips, is the first Unit to have completed a retraining exercise in jungle skills.



At approximately 1630 hours today, two ranks stationed at the Colonel John Clarke Military School at Tacama were injured when two rounds were accidentally discharged from a firearm.

The injured are Lt Othneil Hope and RCT Vernon Harding. Both ranks are currently at the GPHC receiving treatment for their injuries.

The Guyana Defence Force has initiated an investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident. Further details will be released as they are made available.



Chief- of-Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips on Tuesday April 29, 2014 received United States Ambassador to Guyana, His Excellency Brent Hardt at his office, during a courtesy call.

The reception team, which also comprised Colonel Administration and Quartering Captain (Coast Guard) John Flores and Staff Officer 1 One General 3, Lieutenant Colonel Cargill Kyte and Lieutenant Colonel Nazrul Hussain, held a series of discussions with Ambassador Hardt and US Military Liaison Officer, Lieutenant Commander Robert Novotny.

The discussions saw an expression of sentiments in the strengthening of security co-operation and partnership between the GDF and the US Military. In the area of capacity building, the US’s support in the recently concluded Metal Shark training, Special Forces Training and the assistance facilitated through the International Military Education Training Programme (IMET) were also noted.

There was a proposal for more training opportunities for GDF personnel at the operational and tactical levels for the Coast Guard and Land Forces.

Also noted were the successes of the State Partnership Programme between the GDF and the Florida National Guard. This partnership has seen GDF ranks being trained in Disaster Management by the US in Miami and Guyana, as well as Cadets from the FNG engaging in their Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency Programme (CULP) “Destination Guyana” in 2013. This was deemed a highly successful model programme and another batch of cadets is scheduled to return to Guyana, this year.

The US Military has indicated an interest to undergo jungle training in Guyana. Brigadier Mark Phillips has informed that the training facilities at the Jungle and Amphibious Training School (JATS) at Makouria are available.

The United States Military and the Guyana Defence Force continues to enjoy decades of security co-operation which have been beneficial to both sides.


GDF inks new Collective Labour Agreement with GLU

The Guyana Defence Force has inked a Collective Labour Agreement with the Guyana Labour Union (GLU). GDF Colonel Administration and Quartering, Captain John Flores and General Secretary of the GLU, Mr. Carvil Duncan were the main signatories. The agreement, which covers all permanent civilians employed by the GDF, was signed on April 16 last.

Captain Flores noted that, the completion and signing of the agreement is indicative of the GDF’s continued respect and concern for the welfare of the Force’s civilian employees. “The GDF has great respect for all of its employees and we value the contributions of our civilian labour force. We will continue to treat with them in the letter and spirit of this agreement and also with regard to our national laws. Our doors are also open for consultations should any issue arise that is not covered in this agreement.”

The GLU General Secretary lauded the GDF’s commitment to protecting the rights of its civilian employees with the establishment of the new agreement. He also commended the GDF for maintaining a very healthy relationship with the GLU. “I am happy that an agreement has been reached and concluded between the two parties,” he said. “People often wonder how it is that a union is operating in a military organisation when unions are generally associated with go-slows and strikes. With the GDF we operate on principles embracing discussions and consultations to arrive at consensus. The GDF is worker-friendly and takes care of their people. They also have a high regard for the union. The GLU enjoys a unique relationship with the Guyana defence Force. The signing of this agreement shows a continuation of that relationship,” he added.

Also present at the signing ceremony were, Staff Officer One General One, Lt Colonel Patrick West, Assistant Chief Labour Officer, Ms. Lydia Greene, GLU Field Officer, Mr. Michael Stevens and GDF Shop Steward, Ms. Doreth Christian. The pervious agreement was signed in 1977.

Chief of Staff formally opens Basic Recruit Course

It was a resounding no-show of hands when Guyana Defence Force Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips, asked assembled recruits of the GDF’s Basic Recruit Course (BRC) the question, “who wants to go home?” Brigadier Phillips was, at the time, addressing the recruits prior to formally declaring the course, the first for 2014, officially open.

“You chose to be here,” he said, “we advertised, and you made that choice (to come) for a particular purpose,” he observed. Addressing their acknowledgement that, their choice to become soldiers, was driven by the need to develop themselves professionally, the COS said, “We will continue to provide you with opportunities providing you stay the course. This is the first step.” Alluding to the quotation that says “...a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step...” the COS explained that, their first step was to successfully complete the (BRC). Recounting his own experience while on training in Brazil some 30 years ago, the COS explained that it was about “sweating, and hard training since, he and his colleagues had no intention of being seen as failures, upon their return to Guyana.

Noting that the GDF is committed to making them into worthy soldiers and better men from when they first made their decision, he emphasised that they had to grow up overnight. “I congratulate you on taking this decision to join the GDF and to serve your country. But, you will have to grow up overnight! Your focus has to be on embracing fitness, obedience, loyalty, discipline and developing skills. Academic training is included in your basic training to enhance your overall capabilities. We will train you hard!” he said. “You will surely miss your loved ones and the familiar comfort of surroundings that you are accustomed to. You have to put those into the back of your mind, for the 10 weeks that you will be in training. Your loved ones are looking forward to you passing this course and realising your dreams. Resist the temptation to run and focus on becoming the best soldier you can!” he added.

The cadre of recruits currently totals 291, One hundred and ninety eight recruits are being trained at the Colonel John Clarke Military School (CJCMS) at Tacama, while 93 others are at the GDF Base Camp Seweyo on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway. Those being trained at Seweyo, have been earmarked for posting to the technical units of the Force following their anticipated success.

Following the formal opening of the Course at both locations, Brigadier Phillips toured the training bases. During his tour of Base Camp Seweyo, a member of the mess staff, Private Marissa Gilkes gained on-the-spot promotion, to the rank of Acting Lance Corporal.

This first BRC is scheduled to be completed after ten weeks of training.