OF course, it was indeed the ‘Night of the long knives’ captioned story in the Guyana Chronicle, October 8, 2019, in which His Excellency President Granger, Commander-in-Chief and Minister of Defence, gave a concise but comprehensive picture of the Guyana Defence Force decimating Jagdeo puppet, Irfaan Ali’s mischievous claim, made in a July 28, 2019 News Room report titled, ‘Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali details plans for ‘men and women in uniform,’ where he erroneously claimed that the government is ‘interfering in the security forces’ and its use of ‘obsolete equipment.’
Editor, it was a clear pitch to the ‘men and women’ in uniform, where he made promises to them and which had prompted a full-scale response from Commissioner of Police Leslie James, who exposed Ali’s grave mischief in seeking to cause dissension among police ranks.
Although no blood had been literally shed – as in the ‘night of the long knives’ when Nazi Adolph Hitler, at the behest of his henchmen, ordered the executions of many prominent Germans who were perceived as threats to his government. The removal of the four high-ranking GDF colonels by then president Jagdeo, to make way for four relatively junior officers as their replacements, as well as becoming the most senior administrators of the GDF, was indeed brutal, and grievous, since it resulted in the seconding of those officers to the PSC, as the president outlined, while causing dissension. Most of all it amounted to supersession.
That was indeed an assault on the army’s succession planning, in addition to paving the way for political control of the country’s military, thus shifting the army away from its well-known tradition of being a professional military body tasked with the following: Protecting the Constitution; safeguarding the nation’s territorial integrity; and assisting in the maintenance of civil order, if/when required.
I will not be repeating any of what the president outlined that has been occurring within and to the army, since 2015, for the enhancement of its human capacity building and improvement, and the development of its material capability for a better equipped armed force. The GDF has indeed grown since 2015 and who must know better about the needs of the GDF, than the Ret Brigadier General and former commander, with a distinguished military career, and one of the most seminal contributors towards making the national army what it is today.
Simply put, Ali is a fervent rabble rouser, hopelessly out of his depth where matters of national import are concerned, much less national security, and what it takes to effect a professional service dedicated to serving the needs of the nation. By his pronouncements, he has further highlighted the devious action of his handler, who inflicted a grievous wound on the national army by an act that was quite clear in what it had intended to achieve.
By the way Editor, one wonders when will Ali produce his long overdue academic certificates, and the international community speak on a would-be presidential candidate, having 19 charges to answer in the local courts. Surely; would such be a norm for a U.S. presidential candidate, a British party leader contesting national election, or in the wider European Union?