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GDF/FNG partnership on Suicide Prevention positively impacts stakeholders

The Guyana Defence Force and the Florida National Guard (FNG) have once again joined efforts to address the issue of suicide in our Guyana. Various aspects of the phenomenon were highlighted and discussed during a conference, which was held from February 28 to March 3, at the St. Francis Community Developers Conference Room, at Rose Hall Town, Corentyne, Region 6.

The event, dubbed the Force Resilience and Suicide Prevention Conference, saw primary inputs by Force Welfare Officer, Reserve Captain Deon Heyligar, Captain Hill of the US Embassy, and Lieutenant Matos and Staff Sergeant Lucas of the Florida National Guard.

Four officers and 22 ranks of the GDF attended and participated at the conference. Other participants, all drawn from the Region, included mental health professionals, teachers, school’s Welfare Officers, members of the Guyana Police Force, Welfare Officers from the Regional administration, and members of several NGOs.

Although the main purpose of the conference was to assist the GDF in developing a tactical program that applies to its military operations concerning suicide prevention and resilience, the involvement of other stakeholders was deemed necessary, in order to empower the Region 6 community with regard to aspects of the societally debilitating phenomenon. Such empowerment is necessary across all communities in order to educate citizens, and, in particular, first responders  to acts of suicide.

According to Captain Heyligar, the conference was a huge success from the standpoint of the eagerness and involvement of all the participants present. “The programme was highly interactive. While there were “talks” regarding elements of suicide, during which a lot of information was disseminated, participants also engaged in a lot of role play exercises and vibrant discourse,” she said. “It was a joy to see the interactions between such a large group of people who, by the end of the event had “bonded’ on one level or another. The content was delivered with clarity which was facilitated by lots of questions from the participants A lot of misconceptions  were clarified.”

The Officers and Ranks attending the conference were from the Coast Guard, the Guyana People’s Militia and the Coastal Battalion. Each of the Units has a presence in the Region, and as such some of the ranks may have had “contact’ with the phenomenon either directly or by association. In this regard, the information they gleaned at the conference is likely to empower them to act responsibly when treating with occurrences of suicide in their communities. It is envisaged that more such conferences will be hosted in the future.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2014, Guyana had a suicide rate of 44.2 per 100,000 person and that for every female suicide, there were 3.2 male suicides. By comparison, neighbouring Suriname had a suicide rate of 27.8 per 100,000. Venezuela's rate of 2.6 per 100,000 is the lowest in the region.

The Guyana Defence Force continues to partner with its military counterparts and local stakeholders to positively impact all Guyanese.


The Guyana Defence Force continues to fulfill its mandate to contribute to the development of Guyana through its partnership with the Ministry Of Education.  Through this partnership, the GDF continues to provide access to its facilities,particularly its main base, to pupils of Nursery, Primary, and Secondary schools across the country.


Between February 13 - 17, more than 150 pupils and teachers of nine schools visited Base Camp Ayanganna. They were from the Kiltearn Nursery School, the Betsy Ground, Saraswat, McKenzie, Tuschen, and Number 29 Primary schools, Skeldon High School, and the Woodley Park and Anns Grove Secondary schools. Close to another 100 students and teachers had visited earlier in the month.


During their visit to the Military Museum. the students learned about the history of the GDF. They also learned about the role of the GDF in defending Guyana's sovereignty, and about the various options available to anyone who chooses to have a military career. 


In addition to the schools' visits, the GDF provides the opportunity for fourth and fifth form secondary school students to complete their Work Study stints. During those stints, the students gain an understanding of what is required of them in the work environment. In addition they acquire an understanding of how various Units and Sub-Units of the Force operate. 


The Guyana Defence Force remains proud of its contributions to the development of Guyana and its role in shaping and moulding young minds for service to our dear nation. In this regard, the GDF will continue its partnership with the Ministry of Education to educate and inform our youth about its role, and to contribute to the academic development of the pupils.

Canadian High Commissioner and French Military Attache pay Courtesy Calls on COS

Chief of Staff Brigadier Patrick West, received and welcomed the Canadian High Commissioner H.E Pierre Giroux, and the French Military Attache Lieutenant Colonel Laurent Ducrot, at Defence Headquarters, during Courtesy Calls this week. Mr. Ducrot visited on February 8, while Mr. Giroux's visit was on Feb 9. 

The visitors congratulated Brigadier Patrick West  on his appointment  as Chief of Staff (COS). On both occasions, discussions held between the visitors and the COS centered on bilateral cooperation between the GDF and their respective military institutions.

GDF honours First Lady and Prime Minister's wife for their contribution to the development of women across Guyana.

First Lady, Her Excellency Sandra Granger and Mrs Sita Nagamootoo, the wife of Prime Minister Moses Magamootoo, were honoured on February 6, with the Guyana Defence Force Women's Army Corps 50th Anniversary Commemoration Medal. In his capacity as Acting President, Prime Minister Nagamootoo conferred the medal on these distinguished women as Honorary Recipients, for their outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of women across Guyana.

Chief of Staff , Brigadier Patrick West said that, conferral of the medals to Mrs Granger and Mrs Nagamootoo was the tangible expression of the gratitude of the Force, in recognition of their work.

WAC shine at 50th Anniversary Medal Presentation Parade

Female Officers and Ranks shone during the Guyana Defence Force  Women's Army Corps (WAC) 50th Anniversary Medal Presentation Parade, which was held on February 6, 2017 at Base Camp Ayanganna. 


The parade comprised four Platoons drawn from Base Camp Ayanganna, Base Camp Stephenson, the Coast Guard and the Guyana People's Militia, and was commanded by Commanding Officer of the WAC, Lieutenant Colonel Natasha Stanford. In the parade, the Force Colour was carried by Colour Ensign, Lietuenant Stacy Cadogan.


Acting President, His Excellency Moses Nagamooto, conferred the WAC 50th Anniversary Commemoration Medal on one Officer and 31 Other Ranks, who were the first recipients of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) 50th Anniversary Commemoration Medal during the parade. All females in service in the GDF as at February 6, are to receive the medal.


Commander in Chief, His Excellency President David Granger, authorised the issuance of the Commemoration Medal to commemorate the fiftieth year of the existence of the Women's Army Corps. This medal is granted to honour all female Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and soldiers, who are on active duty in the Guyana Defence Force, as at the sixth of February, 2017.

Firsy Lady, Her Excellency Sandra Granger along with the Hon Prime Minister's wife, Mrs Sita Magamootoo were among the persons present to witness the historic parade. Also in attendance was United States Navy Rear Admiral Martha Herb who was specially invited to Guyana for the WAC Anniversary observances.


(Photography by Lance Corporal Hananiah Warde and Privates Kenneth Richards and Kenneth Gaskin of the G5 Branch).