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Army head now titled Chief of Defence

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The current Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Omar Khan and successive heads of the GDF will be designated Chief of Defence.

The change was effected by an amendment to the Defence (Amendment) Act 2024, which was passed in the National Assembly last Friday.

The amendment was presented to the House by Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips.

In his presentation, the Prime Minister said that the amendment is made in keeping with modern approaches and to align Guyana’s military leadership with that of other countries.

Importantly, he pointed out that several countries in the Caribbean have already adapted the designation Chief of Defence, which is “more recognised.”

Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips

“Mr Speaker, the term Chief of Staff as the head of the military is virtually unused internationally and has been relegated to an appointment of a subordinate unit to the head of the military.

“For most militaries, the head is now called the Chief of Defense or Commander of Defence,” Prime Minister Phillips explained.

The amendment, he said, holds the potential to strengthen the country’s defence structure.

“With such observation and in an attempt to align our military with what currently obtains, the decision to make our head of military, chief of defense is recommended,” Prime Minister Phillips noted.

Though a change in the title, Prime Minister Phillips said the roles and responsibility of the Chief of Defence remains the same.

“All duties outlined for the Chief of Staff who will now become designated Chief of Defence remains the same, intact in keeping with Defence Act chapter 15:01,” he said.

The amendment was passed with the support of the Parliamentary Opposition.

Back in February this year, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali announced that the change was coming.

He had said that it will be made keeping with the regional structure.

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