Last Updated on Friday, 28 April 2023, 19:07 by Denis Chabrol
Retired Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Brigadier Godfrey Bess announced in his farewell address that Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Irfaan Ali has promised him a civilian job.
“Your Excellency, I’m humbled that you have seen it fit for me to continue to serve the people of Guyana in another capacity and I pledge to continue to offer the steadfast leadership and professional support to our country, the region and our beloved citizens. Thank you, Your Excellency,” said Brigadier Bess who is also a Chartered Accountant.
No details were provided.
But with the promotion of Mr Omar Khan from Colonel to Brigadier and his appointment as Chief-of-Staff, there is no Head of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), a body that will soon be clothed with legislation. That Bill is yet to be debated and passed by the National Assembly.
Brigadier Bess publicly recognised the invaluable relationship he has enjoyed for more than 30 years with Brigadier Khan, describing him as “my close friend and comrade-in-arms and who has been an invaluable member of my leadership team over the last three years.” . “While I leave today, I know I will be leaving the force in the in the very capable hands and from various interactions with Brigadier Khan who I have known for 31 years, and worked besides each other; I know him to be very intelligent and innovative with a passion for mind-mapping and strategising.
Further, his tenure at the National Intelligence and Security Agency would have equipped him with strategic awareness of the contemporary security environment and the various security challenges that the Guyana Defence Force must be prepared for. Thus, I know that he will serve with resolute dedication and devotion,” he said. The Bill to give the National Intelligence and Security Agency legal teeth vests the President with the sole authority to appoint its Director who will report directly to him.
Mr Bess, who was appointed acting Chief-of-Staff by then President David Granger, lauded President Ali and his predecessor for retaining him as head of the defence force although the government changed as a result of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections. “It would be remiss of me not to first express thanks to President Irfaan Ali and former President David Granger who, despite being from different political parties reposed great trust and confidence in my ability to command the men and women of this noble institution as its 11th Chief-of-Staff,” he said.
The former Chief-of-Staff credited President Ali with making great in acquiring two helicopters, two planes and an offshore patrol vessel as well as low-cost housing initiatives and educational opportunities.
Brigadier Bess reminded Brigadier Khan that members of the GDF must “subordinate ourselves to the Constitution of Guyana” because the military is an instrument of policy and so “must be prepared to implement defence and security policies formulated by civilian leadership un-biasly,” he said.
President Ali, top government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, top police officers and former Chiefs-of-Staff were among those who attended the Change of Command Parade.