– President urges continuance of stellar leadership of Force
PRESIDENT David Granger, on Wednesday, presented Brigadier Godfrey Bess with an Instrument of Commission appointing him acting Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Baridi Benab at State House and saw the attendance of representatives of the government, GDF and the relatives of Bess. The new Chief of Staff (acting) has now replaced Brigadier Patrick West who has proceeded on pre-retirement leave.
In his address to the audience, arranged to suit the COVID-19 guidelines in place, the President congratulated Bess, wishing him best in the future execution of his duties.
As Chief of Staff (ag), he said that Bess will have to instruct and influence his subordinates to achieve a specific mission while effectively employing the Force’s assets, demonstrating leadership and fostering a collective effort towards excellence.
“The Chief of Staff is not merely the holder of the highest rank and most prestigious appointment in the Force. 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,” the President said.
Describing further the qualities the Chief of Staff should maintain, the Head of State highlighted the need for qualities of intelligence and prudence which would set the ‘Values and Standards’ expected of the Force and its members.
He also pointed to the need for the sacred bearing of the Force’s ‘colours’; discipline, for maintaining organisational cohesiveness; loyalty, binding officers to the service of their country; integrity and more.
He 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 that the management of the Defence Force, this year, will no doubt be challenging as the Chief of Staff is assuming command of the Force as Guyana celebrates its 50th Republic Anniversary, the Force celebrates its 55th anniversary and the country embarks on a Decade of Development.
Nonetheless, he said that the Decade will include investments aimed at the continuous retooling and strengthening of the Defence Force and urged Bess to build on the Force’s achievements over the past five years.
“I record the appreciation of the Guyana Defence Board to Brigadier West for his service to country and to the Defence Force. He assumed the leadership of the Force during a period of transformation. The Force, during his tenure, has been reorganised and re- equipped to become a more professional organisation. The Defence Board wishes Brigadier West a happy retirement, content in the knowledge that his achievements will be recorded in our country’s military history as a period of consolidation and transformation,” he said, adding:
“The Guyana Defence Board congratulates Brigadier Godfrey Bess on his appointment. We wish him success in executing the functions of the office of Chief of Staff of the Force.”
The Defence Act, Section 169, empowers the President to appoint an officer to command the Defence Force. The very Act tasks the Chief of Staff with commanding and issuing authoritative orders in respect to the operations of the Force, subject to the directives of the Defence Board and the Minister responsible for Defence.
As West proceeds on pre-retirement leave, there have also been approved the appointments of Colonel Trevor Bowman, Inspector General; Colonel Sherwin Anderson, Quartermaster General; and Colonel Raul Jerrick, Adjutant General with effect from July 1, 2020.
Brigadier West, 54, served as the country’s 10th Chief of Staff. He has expressed gratitude to the President 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.
Meanwhile, 51-year old Colonel Godfrey Bess said it was an honour to have been bestowed with the privilege 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.