A country’s arm forces is on its most potent weapon of defense against threat both foreign and domestic. As such we must be proud of our sons and daughters who bravely puts their live and body in danger, so that we can continue to enjoy the freedoms fought for and gained over 50 years ago.
The role played by the Guyana Defense Force in the development of Guyana most never be overlooked or condemned.
The GDF is an integral part of the Guyanese nation. Resources and equipment of the GDF are used to help other Guyanese; examples include medical services and the construction of roads and airstrips by the Engineering Corps.
The GDF was formed on 1 November 1965. Its members were drawn from the British Guyana volunteer force, Special Service Unit, British Guyana Police force and civilians. At the time training assistance was provided by instructors from England.
Basic training is done within GDF training schools, which also trains officers and soldiers from Commonwealth Caribbean territories. However, Officers are trained at two of the world’s renowned British officer training schools: Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (Infantry Training) and Britannia Royal Naval College (Coast Guard Training).
The Guyana defense force has a very proud and at the same time antagonistic history. This is as a result of it being used as arm of the state during the Burnham administration. Whether justifiable or not societies generally view the police and the army as an oppressive arm of the state which uses it’s powers to carry out the agenda of state and not the will of the people.
It’s with this historical knowledge that some Guyanese viewed the independence night flag raising ceremony at Durban Park as too militaristic. The Independence night celebrations saw over 500 military personnel, 300 police officers and members from the Guyana people militia and fire service taking part in the drill segment of the night’s celebrations. However, independence is meaningless if a country doesn’t have the means to protect and save guard such a gain from its neighbors or internal enemies.
As such the military displays were appropriate and warranted at such a significant juncture in our history. It was a display of strength and patriotism by not only our men and women in uniform but the thousands who attended the celebrations.
As Guyanese we should never make our past divide us rather we should use it as motivation to shape a better future for our selves and children.
W. Ackloo Phd
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