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Brazilian Military Attaché, Colonel Wilson Mendes Lauria was today awarded the Military Efficiency Medal (MEM), at a special farewell luncheon in his honour at the Officers Mess at Base Camp Ayanganna. The Defence Board agreed to confer the honour on Col Lauria in recognition of his sterling and exceptional service to the GDF and in contributing to the strengthening of ties between the GDF and the Brazilian Armed Forces.

The award is presented for persons rendering valuable service beyond the call of duty to the GDF and to those who have contributed to the strengthening of the GDF’s bilateral ties with other armies. The Citation accompanying the Award reads in part: “...On assuming command, you not only continued the work that was being done but expanded and strengthened all areas of co-operation between the armed forces of our two countries. It is not only your performance as Military Attaché in the field of military      co-operation with the Guyana Defence Force but also the quality of leadership you demonstrated in the exercise of the function entrusted to you by the Brazilian Armed Forces. For this reason, the Guyana Defence Force awards the Military Efficiency Medal for service of a high quality and facilitating a high and sustained level of interaction between the armed forces of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Guyana Defence Force.”

Acknowledging that saying farewell can sometimes be a bittersweet occasion, GDF Chief of Staff Commodore Gary Best congratulated Colonel Lauria on an excellent tour of duty. “This marks another milestone in the excellent relations which exist between the GDF and The Brazilian Armed Forces,” he said. The Commodore noted that the relations are underscored by co-operation agreements which the two militaries have signed. “The highlight of your tenure has been the expansion of maritime cooperation which ha sbrought significant benefits to our Coast Guard,” he enthused. The GDF looks forward to the continued strengthening of these ties and to further joint training and repair of the GDFS Essequibo in a Brazilian dockyard,” he added.

In addition to presenting Col Lauria with the MEM, Commodore Best also presented him with a commemorative plaque a gift and a friendship ring. Colonel Lauria thanked the Chief of Staff, the Officers and Ranks of the Guyana Defence Force whom he referred to as his friends. The Colonel became a bit emotional when he said that friendship was the best gift he received while representing his country’s military in Guyana. “The most important accomplishment (for me) was to create a strong relationship. Without a strong relationship nothing can be achieved,” he said. “The best gift I have received is your friendship.” he added.

Colonel Lauria indicated that although he will not be in Guyana, he will, through his next appointment, continue to work with Guyana and provide support for the GDF. “In my next job, I will deal with Brazil’s neighbours on issues related to security co-operation. I will also be waiting for you at the World Cup and maybe also at the Olympics in 2016,” he concluded.

The Colonel presented Commodore Best with a DVD entitled “SANTOS - 100 Years”, which tells the story of the greatest football club ever known in Brazil. The Senior Officers of the Guyana Defence Force present joined the COS and the Brazilian Ambassador His Excellency Luiz Gilberto Seixtas Andrade in toasting Colonel Lauria.