1-month tax-free bonus for Police, soldiers, firefighters, prison service workers
In keeping with his promise made before entering office, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Dr Irfaan Ali, on Wednesday announced a one-month tax-free bonus for all members of the Joint Services.
The Head of State reminded the gathering at the Guyana Defence Force’s (GDF’s) Annual Christmas Lunch at Base Camp Ayanganna on Wednesday that he had promised to reinstate this incentive that was rescinded by the APNU/AFC administration.
In fact, just a few months into office, President Ali last December had given the Joint Services a two-week tax-free bonus. But on Wednesday, he announced, “This year, we’re returning the full month tax-free bonus to you… And let me be very clear on this, because this (needs) to be clear to all those who are listening: we are not returning the one-month tax-free bonus for any other reason but because you deserve it, because you work hard for it. And for those in our society who believe you can just take things away, and who believe that you can take things away from the soldier, I challenge them to go spend a year in some of the locations and live the life you do in protection of your country, and then they will know whether you deserve it.”
In addition to the GDF, ranks of the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Fire Service and Guyana Prison Service would also benefit from this announcement.
According to the Commander-in-Chief, the reinstatement of this tax-free bonus is coupled with his Government’s continued efforts to put in place an accelerated programme that would not only improve the lives of Joint Services’ members, but also their families’ lives.
Spirit of community
To this end, President Ali urged the ranks to continue portraying a spirit of community and recommit to building ‘One Guyana’ that is prosperous for all the people of Guyana.
However, the Head of State also showered appreciation on the GDF ranks for their involvement in community work, and their overall leadership. He reminded them that their duties are not only to protect citizens and the country and its borders, but to also actively integrate themselves in the national development strategy of the country.
“Today, I stand here, and I want to celebrate with you the many roads, bridges that you have contributed in building in our country this year. Whilst we’re here, you’re even working, and you’re showing by example that you can work the long hours even in the night to build the median right out here on Carifesta [Avenue].”
The Commander-in-Chief said that early in 2022, there is going to be a joint collaboration between the GPF, the GDF and the Private Sector to launch a massive clean-up campaign in the city.
“We will show them by our example that we can do it, and if we do it as a people, then those who are in the leadership position, whether at the NDC, the Town Council or the City Council, they must follow with their leadership in keeping it the way we will hand it to them. We will demonstrate that love for country and patriotism go far beyond what one may consider the military defence of our borders. It is about how we see ourselves. It is about how we respect ourselves. It is about how we respect the communities we live in. It is about how we portray Guyana to those who visit our shores.”
Meanwhile, during his address to the GDF ranks, President Ali pointed out that although numerous investments have been made to the military, Police force, fire service and the prison service, he prides his Government’s investments in developing its human capital.
The Head of State also spoke about the aggressive housing and educational programmes in place, and promised their expansion.
“For a matter of fact, this year, we have had the most officers and soldiers being trained or advancing their educational aspirations in the history of this military; and this is just the beginning, because we are going to support you in all your education aspirations.”
Against this backdrop, the Commander-in-Chief also charged the 19 different units within the GDF to each pick a representative for Government scholarships.
He said, “We are also empowering you to make decisions, and we are empowering you to work as a team.”
Moreover, the President reiterated that the PPP/C Government would invest in infrastructure at all the army bases, to enable the ranks to be able to do distance and online learning.
“So, all of you would have an equal opportunity, an equal shot at improving yourself and building a better prospect for your family. This is the goal and the vision.”
The President noted that this approach by the Government is going to continue into the new year at an accelerated pace.
During Wednesday event, the Commander-in-Chief also handed out scholarships to Sergeant Natisha Dos Santos and Corporal Royan Davis to pursue studies at the University of Guyana. Both soldiers are currently serving on the borders, and were selected by their peers during the President’s visit to Mabaruma during Soldier’s Day celebrations.
This is the second set of soldiers to have received scholarships from the President as part of his focus on other ranks and ensuring they receive educational advancement.
At the end of the formal part of the programme, President Ali assisted with the distribution of meals to the ranks, who greeted him with much jubilation after his announcement of the one-month tax-free bonus. (G8)