The armed forces of Barbados today began a new chapter led by Lt Colonel Glyne Grannum, after having bid farewell last night to Colonel Alvin Quintyne, a man Prime Minister Freundel Stuart described as a “standout”.
Colonel Quintyne officially left the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) at midnight after 40 years in service, 13 of which were spent as Chief of Staff.
“His strength of character is one of his defining features, and that always recommended him very strongly to me,” said the Prime Minister.
“He cared about the soldiers . . . he cared about how their family might be affected in the discharge of their responsibilities; therefore, he always put their case with daunting eloquence, constantly, insistently, and persistently,” added Stuart, whose role as Minister of Defence and National Security placed him in frequent contact with the retired Colonel.
“Those three attributes recommended Alvin Quintyne to me.”
In fact, so endeared is Stuart to the character of Quintyne that the political leader said last night that the former army chief’s retirement will be short lived.
“I told him, ‘just be warned that you have two months’ holiday. We will chat after that because I have work for you’,” Stuart related to officers and civilian well-wishers gathered at the BDF’s St Ann’s Fort headquarters for a cocktail reception following the Change of Command parade last night.
The man who presided as Colonel Quintyne’s senior officer, Governor General Elliott Belgrave thought so highly of the service of the departing chief of staff that he awarded the army’s retiring head with the Governor General’s Gold Medal of Honour.
“I do this because you have rendered excellent and meritorious service to your country during your term as Chief of Staff. But, more particularly, you have served me as Governor General, the Commander in Chief of the Armed and Unarmed Forces, with distinction,” Sir Elliott said as he pinned the award on the Colonel’s already decorated chest.
Also retiring last night was Deputy Chief of Staff Commander Errington Shurland, who is replaced by Commander Aquinas Clarke.
Stuart said that in the manner of Colonel Quintyne, “Commander Errington Shurland has always stood out. So, whenever I met them, I knew that these were men who were not just ordinary men. These were men who were called to a high quality of service”.
Stuart noted that Shurland is taking up an appointment in the Regional Security System (RSS), “to contribute as massively and substantially to that institution as he contributed over the last 33 years to the Barbados Defence Force”.
“The Barbados Defence Force is an institution of which we ought to feel justifiably proud,” the Prime Minister said.
“It could not be the great institution without the contribution of people like Alvin Quintyne and Errington Shurland, past chiefs of staff, as well as Colonel Leonard Banfield, Brigadier Rudyard Lewis, and Colonel Deighton Maynard,” Stuart said, also crediting past deputy chiefs of staff and soldiers.
Colonel Quintyne said that his 40-year journey “was not only up to me, but also to many others who played a central role in laying the foundation and building the supporting structures of my military career”.
In his farewell to the enlisted ranks, Quintyne assured them that “no mission of this Force today or tomorrow can be accomplished effectively, efficiently and decisively without you establishing and maintaining a firm position at the tip of the Force’s operational spear”.
The new Chief of Staff of the BDF is a 31-year veteran of the service. In the past two years, until taking up this appointment, he had served as Director of Operations and Plans at the RSS.
“Our task is to provide for and maintain a secure environment that remains conducive to development,” he said prior to Quintyne symbolically handing over the BDF’s flag to him.
“The Force will continue to be strong in our labours,” Grannum added, and urged his charges, for the sake of country, to “scorn selfishness and greed, always putting Barbados first”.