Godfrey Bess takes charge of GDF
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Acting Chief-of-staff, Colonel Godfrey Bess
Acting Chief-of-staff, Colonel Godfrey Bess

…as Brigadier Patrick West goes into retirement

PRESIDENT and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, David Granger, has granted approval to Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Patrick West to proceed on accumulated leave with effect from Wednesday and has simultaneously appointed Colonel Godfrey Bess to perform the functions of chief-of-staff, the Ministry of the Presidency said in a release.

Brigadier West’s accumulated leave will conclude in March 2021, at which point Bess would be appointed substantively as chief-of-staff. In addition to Bess’ appointment, President Granger has also approved the appointments of: Colonel Trevor Bowman, Inspector General; Colonel Sherwin Anderson, Quartermaster General; and Colonel Raul Jerrick, Adjutant General with effect from 1st July 2020.

Outgoing Chief-of-staff, Brigadier Patrick West

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces extends best wishes to Brigadier West for his service as an officer in the Defence Force since 1985. Brigadier West, 54, served as the country’s 10th Chief of Staff. He expressed gratitude to President Granger and the Defence Board for both “specific and general direction” which he said has helped to shape the course of effective transformation within the Force, while at the same time developing the concept of Total National Defence.

“I am certain that the momentum of the Force at this stage can see the seeds of transformation which were sown coming to fruition in another few years, he said as he thanked his predecessors for their efforts. Brigadier West is the holder of a Master of Science Degree in Administration from the Central Michigan University, USA, a Master of Military Arts and Science from the Command and General Staff College, USA, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Management and a Diploma in Public Management from the University of Guyana.

“I think Colonel Bess will have a very good foundation going forward,” Brigadier West said while describing his time in the military as “very good.” Brigadier West is the recipient of the Military Service Star, Military Efficiency Medal, and the Border Defence Medal, among others.

Meanwhile, 51-year old Colonel Godfrey Bess said it is an honour to have been bestowed with the honour of serving as Chief of Staff of the Defence Force. He thanked President Granger and the Defence Board for the opportunity to serve while Brigadier West proceeds on his accumulated leave. Colonel Bess also thanked Brigadier West whom he has worked with over the last three years on what he termed the consolidation and stabilisation period of the GDF. “Brigadier West’s leadership has been admirable. I have learnt a lot from him. The vision is clear and indeed what I need to do with my team is follow the vision,” Colonel Bess said, noting that “the path is clear and I will follow that path.”

Colonel Bess who started his military career in 1990 served in Command, Administrative, Staff and Training appointments throughout the GDF. He said his professional education was supported by the compulsory professional military education of the Guyana Defence Force which included the Senior and Junior Command and Staff Courses and Managing Security in Wider Defence Context. Colonel Bess has been serving as Quarter Master General since January 1, 2018. He has been responsible for ensuring that the GDF is well resourced to carry out its mandate in any terrain. He has received military training from the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School- Guyana, the United States of America Military Police School- Alabama, the Caribbean Junior Command and Staff School- Jamaica and the Shrivenham Defence College, United Kingdom. Colonel Bess is the holder of a Bachelor of Social Science Degree in Business Management and Level Two Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

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