New GDF Chief vows to only support democratic Govts
Newly appointed Chief of Staff (CoS) of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Godfrey Bess, has committed to supporting a democratically elected Government, as mandated by the Constitution of Guyana.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, the newly-sworn-in Chief of Staff assured that the Guyana Defence Force would continue to abide by the Constitution of Guyana. He was at the time responding to questions about whether the army, under his control, would support an undemocratically elected Government in Guyana.
“We (were) trained to support the democratically elected Government of the day based on our constitution, and that we will continue to do…The Guyana Defence Force is a professional organization, and we will stick to the Constitution of Guyana,” he asserted.
According to Brigadier Bess, the army is always subordinate to civil authority, and is premised on taking legal instructions and advice.
The newly appointed Chief of Staff is taking over the GDF at a time when the country is undergoing an unprecedented political situation. While the certified results from the National Recount show that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic won the March 2 elections, the caretaker Coalition APNU/AFC Government is challenging those results in a move that has been seen as one aimed at them remaining in office.
In fact, the APNU/AFC has supported a widely criticised and fraudulent report submitted to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) by embattled Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, who has invalidated more than 115,000 votes.
Brigadier Bess has been promoted from the rank of Colonel, and received his Instrument as the new Army Chief on Wednesday from Commander-in-Chief, President David Granger, who is also the Head of the Defence Board.
President Granger told the new Army Chief that he would now be tasked with exercising the functions of command and the issuance of authoritative orders in respect to the operations of the Force, subject to the directives of the Defence Board and the Minister responsible for Defence.
“Command includes the authority and responsibility for effectively employing the Force’s assets, and for coordinating and controlling military forces for the accomplishment of the Force’s mission. Leadership, unlike command, cannot be mandated by law. It is an essential element in military command, however, and involves motivating the Force’s manpower to achieve success in its operations and missions,” the Commander in Chief stated.
Energy to the helm
Meanwhile, during a brief interview with media operatives, the newly appointed Chief of Staff said he brings energy to the helm of the army, and further committed to continue defending the integrity of Guyana.
“The Guyana Defence Force has been mandated by law to defend and protect our national patrimony. As the Chief of Staff, I see that as a sacrosanct duty, and we will work hard to ensure that we continue to defend the integrity of this country,” he posited.
Brigadier Bess further related that one of the main challenges he anticipates facing is inadequate resources to perform the army’s functions. However, he noted that the Defence Force training has equipped the army with the skills to ensure that it gets the job done with even the minimal of resources.
“So, training in the Guyana Defence Force, we take it seriously, and it helps us in these challenges,” he stated.
Brigadier Bess, who previously served as Director of National Events, is replacing outgoing Chief of Staff, Brigadier Patrick West, who has been sent on pre-retirement leave.
West, who did not attend the ceremony at State House, proceeded on accumulated leave with effect from Wednesday, July 1, 2020, and will be off the job until March 2021.