President David Granger addresses officers and their families at State House (Delano Williams photo) …President tells new officers training is foundation of a professional, proficient army COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF of the Armed Forces, President David Granger, has said that the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) must continuously and consistently train persons to assume leadership roles, cautioning that should training be neglected, standards would fall, troops’ morale would decline, and deviant behaviour would corrupt members and corrode the competence of the military.

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The President made the remarks in an address to 52 newly commissioned officers, representing the newest addition to the Army’s Officer Corps, whom he had earlier presented with their respective Instruments of Commission, at a ceremony held at The Baridi Benab, State House, on Thursday. In addition to building on its traditions and techniques of training in the local terrain – the country’s grasslands, highlands, in the rainforests, the wetlands and in the waterways— President Granger told his audience that the army is also instilling the values of duty, discipline, identity, integrity and loyalty befitting officers and soldiers.

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According to him, training in the army is the foundation of a professional and proficient army and is essential for ensuring the success of military missions; for enhancing operational effectiveness and for developing physical endurance. Training is also fundamental to military service, hence the military service begins with a training course that is conducted at the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School (CUPOCS).

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Training of officer cadets locally by the GDF began in 1969 with the establishment of the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School (CUPOCS) in September 1981. And, over the five decades, this country has welcomed cadets from the Caribbean states of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize and St Kitts-Nevis. The SOC aims at inculcating the Force’s values and standards in cadets and to develop their power of command and leadership and their service to the country. It has been improved continuously and now includes an enhanced academic programme and intensified jungle, paratrooper and equitation training. The Reserve Officers’ Course was re-introduced after a hiatus of a decade, and members of the Guyana People’s Militia are active and receiving training in all 10 administrative regions so that they could respond effectively to the need for assistance, including in the area of disaster relief, he said.

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Alluding to other significant improvements within the GDF, President Granger spoke of the technical corps; the acquisition of light reconnaissance aircraft and inshore patrol vessels that have augmented the capabilities of the Air Corps and Coast Guard, respectively; and the Intelligence Corps and Signal Corps that are being reformed to improve intelligence, surveillance and communications. Also, the Engineer Corps is being recapitalised and has benefitted from training while working along with the Brazilian Army in the drilling of wells in the Rupununi. Additionally, defence cooperation is being pursued with a number of friendly countries and is unlocking training opportunities for all ranks. The rewards of these investments and partnerships are evident – the Force is improving its capacity to deter aggression, defend national sovereignty and ensure a safe, secure and strong state. The Defence Force now has greater national reach and responsiveness. Operation Armadillo is aimed at protecting our frontier communities. Investors, on land and in our maritime zone, can be assured that the Force will employ every means at its disposal to protect their investments. Citizens can repose greater confidence in their Defence Force, he remarked.

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