Defence Diplomacy Office aimed at influencing international partners; Retired Chief-of-Staff Bess to be first Head

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 April 2023, 14:55 by Denis Chabrol

Brigadier Godfrey Bess and President Irfaan Ali

Retired Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Brigadier Godfrey Bess is tipped to head the Defence Diplomacy Office which is being established at the Office of the President to influence this country’s international partners, according to well-placed government sources.

President Irfaan Ali earlier this week told the opening of the Guyana Police Force Annual Officers’ Conference that the new unit would be aimed at decolonising the international relations landscape by providing perspectives to foreign partners. Dr Ali said that approach would seek to boost Guyana’s analytical capacity in advising policy makers on forging strategic partnerships and assessing the local, regional and international environment to address global issues such as transnational crime.

“We must value highly our regional international partners and the support they give us but we also have value to give them we have value to give them and we must be able to present our independent thinking and analysis to support our regional and international partners as they support us also,” he said.

Mr Bess himself hinted on Friday that he would be playing a role in Guyana’s external affairs in his farewell address at the Change-of-Command Parade, the ceremonial handing over of responsibility to his successor. “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,” he said. Mr Bess is not only a Chartered Accountant but he has received a wide range of international military training in Jamaica, United States and the United Kingdom during his career that dates back to 1990.

He said the Defence Diplomacy Office would be part of the Office of the President. “In the coming days, we’ll be launching a unit in the Office of the President dealing with defence diplomacy as part of Guyana’s regional and international role. “In the coming days and weeks you will see us moving to defense diplomacy; strategic positioning as against strategic planning, strategic positioning that strategic planning is just but a component of strategic positioning,” he said.

The President said that increasingly retired officers of the Joint Services would be drafted into government service.