Brigadier Mark Phillips was Monday morning sworn in as the new Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), promising to ensure that the military remains the “stable band” in the country.
“The Guyana Defence Force remains in good hands. We will continue to be the stable band of our Guyanese society,” he told reporters briefly after he was sworn in by Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Ramotar.
In military circles, the GDF regards itself as the “stable band” whenever the police cannot cope with a challenging security situation. The GDF has participated in several local operations in support of the police during periods of severe political unrest, crimes by heavily armed gangs and counter-narcotics operations.
Phillips, now in the 30th year of military service, seized the opportunity to appeal to parents to encourage their children to join the GDF.
President Ramotar, in his remarks, hailed the good relations between the military and civilian authorities. “We have always had over the many, many, years very good relations with the civilian authority and military authority in this country and the role of the GDF in the joint forces operations has been increased and they play a very central role in that,” he said.
Brigadier Phillips said he was being briefed about the recently discussed initiative for Guyana and Suriname to jointly patrol the bordering Corentyne River.
“The briefing is ongoing. As you know that is something new. The whole aim is that we’ll operationalize his strategic vision for the benefit and for the betterment of the wider Guyanese and Surinamese society,” he said. The military and civilian authorities earlier this week agreed to that initiative to combat the smuggling of arms, ammunition, drugs, people, illegal migration and the smuggling of goods to evade duties.
The Commander-in-Chief also praised Rear Admiral Best for his service and contribution to the Defence Force. “Your intellectual contributions were highly regarded and welcome.”
Prior to his appointment as Chief of Staff, Phillips was promoted to the rank of Brigadier on August 26.
Present at Monday’s swearing in were Secretary to the Defence Board, Dr. Roger Luncheon; Rear Admiral Best; Brigadier Brewster Lovell, other senior military officers and several former GDF Chiefs-of-Staff except Brigadier Edward Collins.
The Change of Command Parade for the outgoing Chief Of Staff, Rear Admiral Best and incoming Chief of Staff Brigadier Mark Phillips is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the Base Camp Ayanganna.