Georgetown, Guyana (July 1, 2020): President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Guyana, David Granger, this morning, presented Brigadier Godfrey Bess with his instrument of appointment to perform the functions of Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force at a simple ceremony held in the Baridi Benab, State House.
Today’s ceremony was two-fold: President Granger presented the Instrument appointing a senior officer to perform the functions of Chief of Staff and promoted Colonel Bess to the rank of Brigadier to perform those functions.
The President also granted approval to Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Patrick West to proceed on accumulated leave with effect from Wednesday, 1st July 2020. Brigadier West’s accumulated leave will conclude in March 2021.
President Granger has, as a result, also approved the appointments Colonel Trevor Bowman, Inspector General; Colonel Sherwin Anderson, Quartermaster General; and Colonel Raul Jerrick, Adjutant General with effect from 1st July 2020.
The Head of State, in his address to senior officers of the GDF said, “The Command of the Guyana Defence Force is vested – especially, explicitly and exclusively –under the law, in the Chief of Staff.
The Defence Act [at Section 169] empowers the President to appoint an officer to command the Defence Force where it states:
The President shall appoint an officer, being a member of the Force, in whom command of the Force shall be vested and, subject to the terms of such appointment, such officer shall have command of that Force.”
President Granger said the Chief of Staff is a member of, and subject to, the Guyana Defence Board which, in accordance with the Defence Act shall be responsible for “under the general authority of the Minister for the command, discipline and administration of, and all matters relating to, the Force”.
The Chief of Staff, the President said, does not merely hold the highest ranks and most prestigious appointment in the Force, he is required to lead and work along with his staff to accomplish the Force’s mission.
“He is required to exercise command continuously in order to achieve the objectives of the Defence Board and directives of the Minister in order to accomplish the Force’s mission. He must communicate, coordinate and, most important collaborate with his subordinates,” President Granger said.
The Chief of Staff is required to work with the general staff – Adjutant General, Inspector General and Quartermaster General
– and with his specialist staff officers and the commanding officers of line units to collect, collate and interpret information in order to make the correct decisions.
“Command is the authority which the Chief of Staff exercises, lawfully, over subordinates by virtue of his high rank and unique appointment in the military service. Command includes the authority and responsibility for effectively employing the Force’s assets, and for coordinating and controlling military forces for the accomplishment of the Force’s mission,” the Head of State said.
The Commander-in-Chief pointed out that leadership, unlike command, cannot be mandated by law; it is an essential element in military command which involves motivating the Force’s manpower to achieve success in its operations and missions.
“The Chief of Staff is the custodian of the Force’s ‘colours’ – the sacred symbols of solidarity and service to the nation – as will be displayed in the physical, formal handing-over ceremony later on. He is the custodian of the Force’s ‘Values and Standards’ and is now charged with ensuring that his officers’ conduct themselves with the five values of duty, discipline, identity, integrity and loyalty,” the President said.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces said leadership is a personal, moral and intellectual quality that is founded on clear and coherent concepts, rational objectives, viable measures and the availability of adequate resources which enable and encourage disparate elements of the Force – air, land, sea and services – to work together as a team.
“The Chief of Staff’s task is not only to command and lead but, also less glamorously, it is to manage. Management includes the traditional textbook functions–of planning, organizing, staffing, coordinating and controlling. It involves more than handling inanimate materials; it is a process which requires motivating human resources to achieve the Force’s mission,” he said.
The President also said a military manager must determine the Force’s short-term tactical, and long-term strategic, objectives and determine the direction of its development, communicate with units, coordinate activities, control events, to collaborate with Government agencies and to work willingly to achieve its objectives.
“He must be clear-headed and courageous in making bold decisions and in accepting responsibility for the consequences of those decisions,” President Granger said.
Management, the President said, includes responsibility for recruitment of new entrants and the discipline, health and morale of military personnel. Management is a role performed by an officer who is appointed to command a corps, unit or department.
The Head of State said management of the Defence Force, this year, will be challenging while noting that the Chief of Staff is assuming command of the Force as Guyana celebrates the 50th anniversary of having become a Republic, the Force celebrates its 55th anniversary and the country embarks on a Decade of Development. “This will be the most transformative period in our history,” he said pointing to the country’s development over the next ten years.
President Granger said emphasis will be placed on strengthening the technical corps – Air, Engineer, Intelligence, Signals and Coast Guard – and on expanding the Militia and intensifying field training in long-range jungle operations.
He said the Chief of Staff is expected to build on the Force’s achievements over the past five years. “It is anticipated that he will continue the progress initiated by the Guyana Defence Board and our Government in reorganising and re-equipping the Force, improving its responsiveness throughout all Ten Administrative Regions, and intensifying defence cooperation and defence diplomacy with friendly countries,” the President said.
President Granger said that Brigadier Bess’ appointment should not be seen as a ceremonial or decorative gesture as it constitutes part of the system of authority and hierarchy within the Force and entrusts its recipients with the responsibility of preserving, protecting and safeguarding Guyana’s patrimony, political independence and territorial integrity.
“It is a call to service to our country,” he said while noting that the rules which govern the appointment and promotion of the most senior officers reduce the influence of bias and subjectivity and foster the development of a meritocracy. It rewards experience, intelligence, performance and prudence, thereby enhancing morale and ensuring greater efficiency.
“The Force must not return to the days of subjective appointments and promotions. An objective, non-partisan system of succession planning must be maintained in the interest of ensuring a professional leadership capable of fulfilling the Force’s mandate,” the Commander-in-Chief said adding that the Chief of Staff must continue to restore public confidence in the Force. He must be assured of the confidence and full support of the entire Force in maintaining public trust.
President Granger wished Brigadier Bess well on his appointment