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As gdf celebrates 45 years, emphasis put on education

The Guyana Defence Force is now 45 and as part of the month-long observances and celebrations the force plans to embark on an education programme that will see ranks being upgraded to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and technical institutional levels. Chief of Staff Commodore Gary Best expressed the desire of the army to see its ranks well educated and better equipped to face life outside of the force. To this end he explained that over the duration the course, opened to all interested ranks, 75 percent of the marks required to pass will be in the form of exams, the other 25 will be coursework or graded papers. Best said that this was a rework of the previously unsuccessful Army Education Programme, and another facet of the remedial programme embarked upon earlier this year. The promotional examination will also be introduced next year, Best added.

The theme for the anniversary, “Transforming for continued service” is pertinent Best noted, especially in light of the changes the force has experienced to create a better working environment for its serving members.  He said that the Army’s policies on drug testing and pregnancy have been revamped to be more worker-oriented. According to the Army boss, the previous policy on pregnancy for example, did not allow enlisted female ranks to become pregnant and bear a child within their first two years on the force.

Similarly Best said that the drug policy provided for first time offenders to be immediately terminated, but did not allow for those “one time” offenders to still have their military careers intact. With regard to the recent publications of soldiers that have gone absent without leave (AWOL), Best noted that their reasons for desertion are numerous but that the “ethos” of the force must be maintained and so deserters will be disciplined before being processed out of the army.

The force kicked off its official observances with an inter-faith service at the national cultural centre, as well as the re-dedication of the library at Army Headquarters.