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WALL HONOURING FORMER CHIEFS OF STAFF UNVEILED AS MILITARY MUSEUM REOPENS

Grade Six F. E. Pollard student, Shakira Henry, cut the ribbon marking the Re-opening of the Guyana Defence Force’s Military Museum at Base Camp Ayanganna, where the wall honouring former Chiefs of Staff was unveiled by Rear Admiral Gary Best.

This was done at a small yet significant ceremony, on Thursday, September 12, in the presence of GDF Chief of Staff Brigadier Mark Phillips, former Chiefs of Staff Major General Joseph Singh and Brigadier Edward Collins, Military Attaché to Brazil Brigadier Jullian Lovell, other members of the Force and special invitees.

Rear Admiral Best noted that the re-opening of the museum was birthed out of the recognition that it is important to preserve the rich history of the Force and honour those who served in the past. He said too, that the museum is an important part of the GDF and will be complemented by the installation of the GDF’s Archives. He also indicated that the construction of a new Museum was planned. This he said, will cater to the facility’s growth through future acquisitions of military artifacts; but noted that that project would have to be pursued by the Chief of Staff (COS). 

In brief remarks, Major General Joseph Singh pointed out that, while military museums were meant to inform, they were also to inspire. “It is my hope that future visitors to the museum would be inspired not only to honour the nation’s flag, but to also dedicate themselves toward the happiness and prosperity of Guyana,” he said. “They must understand what it means for those who dedicate and sacrifice their lives for their country.” The Major General congratulated Rear Admiral Best on taking the initiative to “...build on the foundation of Brigadier General David Granger, whose brainchild it was to have the museum established.”  He expressed the hope that the Force would continue to build on such initiatives.

The Guyana Defence Force Military Museum was declared open by former Vice President, the late, Viola Burnham on October 31, 1975. The facility was meant to support research into military matters and to serve as a partial repository of information.

The Museum had been closed for a number of years. However, at the behest of the Rear Admiral, during his tenure as COS, it had undergone several transformations during the past 15 months, to bring it to its current state. For the first time, the museum displays artifacts donated by living former Chiefs of Staff, in a specially designed area. Other artifacts, some local and some from other military organisations around the world, even some dating back to the 1600s are on display in the museum.

In recent times, several schools have visited the museum as part of organised tours of the GDF’s main Base. The tours are in keeping with the Force’s policy regarding         Civilian-Military Relations and support the schools’ curricula which require students to learn about important national institutions in Guyana. It is envisaged that in the future, many more students will continue to benefit from such visits. Students and teachers from the F. E. Pollard Primary School, St Josephs High School and the David Rose School for the Handicapped were special invitees at the event.