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Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Guyana, His Excellency David Arthur Granger today paid his first official visit to the Guyana Defence Force at Base Camp Stephenson where he declared open the Standard Officers Course #48.

The objective of the course is to produce an Officer who can lead and administer soldiers, while upholding the values and standards of their respective militaries. There are currently thirty three students on the course which includes two students from the Belize Defence Force, and two from the St Kitts and Nevis Defence Force. Of the Forty –five students who began training, one Officer Cadet (OCDT) Brittany Van Lange of the GDF was selected to attend the West Point Military Academy in the United States, and the other 11 discontinued training due to medical and other reasons.

In a well focused and guided presentation to the Cadets, the Commander-in-Chief congratulated the cadets for choosing what he termed, “the best profession” in the world. He outlined the reason for their grooming and training for leadership stating that, “no corners can be cut.” He recollected that very early in the development of the GDF commanders saw the need to produce officers of the highest calibre given the threats that were facing Guyana at the time, thus the establishment of the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School.

He singled out the qualities of Loyalty, Honesty, Worth, Courage, Discipline and Steadfastness as those which Officers must possess. President Granger in 2009 compiled a booklet which captures, in an instructive manner, the Core Values and Standards of the Force. Today, he told the budding officers that the book is their catechism and they must read it so that their conduct can be properly guided. The booklet explains clearly and outlines what is expected of Officers and Soldiers in the Force. It also serves as guide to prevent them from being involved in activities which can bring the Force into disrepute.

He noted too that while defence is conducted by human beings, moral forces were more important. In this regard, he singled out attitude, belief, conduct, determination and education of all ranks, as the main factors that determined the outcome of military operations along with the material aspect. “It’s not what’s on your shoulders, but what is in your head that will determine the outcome of operations. An operation is not a one man show, it depends on a team that has to be commanded and that’s why we have CUPOCS. The task to command is given to officers. They have legal authority to exercise the function of command.... the CIC issues instruments individually to those who deserve it, “he said.

The CIC told the officers-in–training that expertise and training, social responsibility and corporate consciousness are the characters of professional Officers and as such are qualities they must understand and emulate.

President Granger also used the opportunity to announce his intention of restarting a National Cadet Corps. The President and several other retired outstanding members of the Force were part of the Queens College Cadet Corps which brought together youths between the ages of 12-18 and taught them leadership skills, team work, public service and exposed them to travel around their country. The Corps was later named the National Cadet Corps, then the Army Cadet Company and eventually disbanded. “ I believe that in the secondary school , youngsters should be exposed to teamwork to prepare them. Even if they don’t become members of the GDF, the skills they learn will stay with them throughout their respective careers. This is not militarisation. It was voluntary then and it will still be that way,” he said.

The motto of the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School is, “I serve Guyana”. The Commander in Chief commanded the motto to the Cadets and insisted, “Youwill not be disappointed. The military is the finest profession a young person in Guyana can choose.”

President Granger after his address toured the recently completed state of the art accommodation quarters for the Cadets and had lunch with them.

The Standard Officers Course #48 is scheduled to conclude in February next year with a Commissioning Parade.