TRIP TO GUYANA CELEBRATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GUYANA DEFENCE FORCE NOVEMBER 14, THRU NOVEMBER 29, 2015
On Saturday November 14, 2015 thirty-five members of the XGDF Association of NY including family members headed by the organization’s President Cheryl Tappin arrived in Guyana to join in the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the Guyana Defence Force.
The members were welcomed by the President of the Guyana Veterans Legion Mr. George Gomes as they arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at Timerhi.
They travelled to Georgetown where they were welcomed and joined other members who had travelled earlier and prior to their group.
The New York contingent was headquartered at the Palace De Leon Hotel on Croal Street where they converged daily to strategize on the various activities they were scheduled to attend.
Sunday November 15, 2015 – Members Meeting – Palace DeLeon, Croal Street
A general meeting was held at the Palace DeLeon Hotel for all members who travelled for the celebrations. Members were brought up to date with the entire itinerary and each activity was discussed. Members attending functions as a group were asked to meet at the hotel at least fifteen minutes prior to departure time and to adhere to all dress codes.
Monday November 16, 2015 – Chief of Staff – Brigadier General Mark Phillips – Base Camp Ayanganna
On Monday November 16, 2015 some members of the New York group accompanied by President of the Guyana Veterans Legion and his Vice President Mr. Arno Solomon made a courtesy call on Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force Brigadier General Mark Phillips. The visiting team was met by and introduced to members of the Chief’s supporting staff including Lt. Col Hussein who has been a great help to the NY Chapter’s President during the planning phase of the trip to Guyana. The Chief explained his role in the security aspect of Guyana and advised that the government will be continuing to build a stronger Militia to defend the county if and when the time arises.
Chief of Staff Phillips was presented with a plaque by the President of the XGDF Association NY on behalf of all of its members.
Monday November 16, 2015 – Karaoke Night – Coghlan House
Getting together for a night of karaoke where members attending showed off their singing skills. Mr. Gomes showed his singing skills but the New York team also showed theirs. This event was well attended by the visiting and local members of both associations.
Tuesday November 17, 2015 – Visit to Shut-ins
This day started out with the New York group (Cheryl Tappin, Johnny Glasgow, John Nichols, Rickford Edwards, and Steve Clarke) spearheaded by Welfare Officer of the Guyana Veterans Legion Ms. Beverly Somerset paid visits to shut-ins. The group travelled to the east coast, east bank and the veterans’ home where they made monetary tokens to fourteen individuals. Some of the shut-ins visited were W/Lcpl. Hermina Simon, Pte. Stanley Leacock, W/Cpl. Allison Newark
Tuesday November 17, 2015 – Executives Meeting – Coghlan House
This meeting was chaired by President of the Guyana Veterans Legion Mr. George Gomes and in attendance were executive members of XGDF Association and Guyana Veterans Legion. Mr. Gomes thanked the members of the XGDF NY for all assistance received over the past years and asked that we go an extra mile in sending medical supplies which can be bought over the counter. He specifically made mention on testing strips and meters for diabetics and blood pressure monitors. He also asked that we consider sending vitamins which also could be bought over the counter. President Tappin promised to look into his request and to ask assistance from the NY members. He also mentioned the yearly contribution he receives from the XGDF NY and was advised that all proceeds from Shades of Green and White Post Thanksgiving Party on November 27 will be given to the Veterans Legion.
Wednesday November 18, 2015 – Courtesy Call on His Excellency President David A. Granger (a) – Office of the President
Some members visited with His Excellence President Granger. Members visiting were: (President of the XGDF Association NY) Cheryl Tappin, (Vice President) Lennox Pyle, (Financial Secretary) Joseph Glasgow, Steve Clarke, John Nichols, (Committee Members) Lorraine Glasgow and Arthur King, David Grimmond, and (Assistant Treasurer) Simon Thomas, (President Guyana Veterans Legion) George Gomes and his Vice President Mr. Arno Solomon. President Granger was introduced to members of the visiting party by Cheryl Tappin (President XGDF NY). President Tappin congratulated the President on his election to office and pledged the support of the New Yorkers in helping him reach his goals. After swapping memories of the past, the President advised members of the state of affairs of the government upon taking office after elections and confirmed he has a five year plan for the development of Guyana and its people. He also reiterated that the donation made to the Veterans Legion should be used by that organization to make them self-sufficient.
President Granger was presented with his #1 Dress Jacket of the XGDF NY, a portrait of himself (painted by Ex-Sgt. Oswald Mussenden) and a plaque recognizing/congratulating him on his election.
Wednesday November 19, 2015 – Funeral Service (b)
Members came together and attended a funeral service in support of Member Franklin Lewis whose ex-wife passed away earlier that week.
Wednesday November 19, 2015 – Trooping of the Colors (c) – Base Camp Ayanganna
Members attended the historic consecration of Trooping of The Colors which was held on the grounds of Base Camp Ayanganna. This consecration and trooping of the Colors focused on of five Units of the GDF— the Number One Infantry Battalion, Second Infantry Battalion, Base Camp Ayanganna, Base Camp Stephenson and Four Engineers Battalion. Ranks on parade marched in both slow and quick timing at and at times one can hear loud applause as their precision was witnessed by all present. Commander in Chief- Brigadier (Ret’d) David A Granger, and Chief of Staff -Brigadier General Mark Anthony Phillips, took the salute from the ceremonially attired ranks. The five flags were blessed by army Chaplain Rev. Nicholas Corbin, with Pastor George Jeffers, assistant force Chaplain in support. And also Pundit Dhanesh Prashad and Brother Asheel Khan.
Thursday November 20, 2015 – Excursion to Seweyo
This activity was cancelled. Instead, members of both the Guyana Veterans Legion and XGDF Association NY visited with the members of Guyana Veterans Legion at Rose Hall Corentyne. The day was spent with members interacting, renewing acquaintances and catching up on news.
Friday November 21, 2015 – Veterans Day – Base Camp Ayanganna
Fallen and retired soldiers were remembered by the Guyana Defence Force at the Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony. Wreaths were laid at the Veterans’ Monument, Base Camp Ayanganna. The wreath laying ceremony was headed by Commander-In-Chief President David A. Granger. Others who laid wreaths were Brigadier General Mark Phillips, President of the Guyana Veterans Legion George Gomes, President of the XGDF Association of NY Cheryl Tappin and our own Hartley Liverpool. Day 1 soldiers (veterans) were recognised and we are pleased and proud to say that John Nichols, Hartley Liverpool and Arthur King (XGDF NY) were among those honoured. Among those in attendance were former Chiefs-of-Staff and former officers, serving officers and ranks and veterans. The Chief-of-Staff made a monetary donation to the President of the Guyana Veterans’ Legion, Retired Colonel George Gomes.
Saturday November 22, 2015 – Military Tattoo – Base Camp Ayanganna
Members attending joined the crowd converged on the playfield at Camp Ayanganna to witness parachute jumps, a mock battle, and splendid fireworks all making for an unforgettable show. Paratroopers of the Special Forces Squadron of the GDF showed off their skills as they jumped down in colourful parachutes at 12000 feet. In addition to the sky dive display, the Band Corp presented their precision marching skills while rendering beautiful music. There was also a martial arts display, precision or `Silent’ drills, a simulated battle and fireworks which brought an end to the afternoon’s program.
Sunday November 22, 2015 – Wild Meat Extravaganza – Coghlan House
This event was well attended with members, friends and supporters converging on the lawns and hall of Coghlan. Succulent wild meat was on sale for patrons to purchase and partake. There were turtle, iguana to name a few.
Thursday November 26, 2015 – Military Command Competition – Base Camp Stephenson
No reps from NY attended.
Friday November 27, 2015 – Military Command Competition Finals – Base Camp Stephenson (a)
Member Joseph Glasgow attended.
Friday November 27, 2015 – Green and White Post Thanksgiving & Farewell Party (b)
This event was hosted by XGDF NY and was well attended. All proceeds were presented to the President of the Guyana Veterans Legion Mr George Gomes. Again this was another night for members to make their promises to keep in contact with each other and to visit more often. In her closing remarks, New York’s President Ms. Cheryl Tappin introduced members of the NY group who gave their time, energies and support of her during the preparation and execution of this visit. She also thanked the Guyanese group for the hospitality shown and a wonderful and enjoyable two weeks of activities. She urged members to continue to support Mr. Gomes as his fight is not only for himself, but for all ex-soldiers/veterans.
Saturday November 28, 2015 – Members who travelled on November 14 prepared for their return trip to USA