As Barbados’ highest military body celebrates 40 years of existence, its top ranked officer has pledged the force’s full commitment to national defense and security.
At the same time, the ranks of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) have been cautioned against exhibiting double standards and challenged to unite in the nation’s best interest.
Dozens of troops assembled at the St Matthias Anglican Church in their sharpest ceremonial uniforms as members of the Army, Coast Guard, and Cadet Corps reflected on the organisation’s past while being filled with hope for the future.
“The force shall remain resolute in its activities, as we march towards year number 41,” declared BDF Chief of Staff Colonel Glyne Grannum as he addressed a packed congregation, which included Governor General Dame Sandra Mason; Chief Justice, Sir Marston Gibson; Attorney General, Dale Marshall; Home Affairs Minister, Edmund Hinkson; and Culture Minister, John King.
Colonel Grannum also reiterated the BDF’s commitment to unity in the pursuit of national security.
“We will remain a united force working towards one vision with hearts courageous. We can stand together and we can do what we are called to do on a journey to help build the best Barbados we can together. We in the Barbados Defence Force… all are a united force and one that stands together. This has always been our victory,” he said, before inviting the congregation to recite the National Pledge.
Colonel Grannum’s promise followed a stern call to “awareness” from Reverend Marcus Lashley, who reminded the troops that each member would be held to account for his/her actions.
“This call is now not for a few, or for those on duty or those who are up front and prominent. It is for the entire body and for all of us,” reminded the Lashley.
“We also know that this year has been an unmistakable and signalled year in this organization as you were forced…to reflect upon the fact that you are a disciplined force, that you are called to accountability and the words loyalty and honesty and respect and courage and devotion.
“Duty must not just be words for you. You must live it out in every aspect in moments that are public and moments that are private,” said Lashley.
He warned the military personnel that numerous people would seek to exploit the “weak” among their ranks and urged them to be on their guard at all times.
“Who you are when you are dressed in uniform cannot be different from the person they see standing in the village. It cannot be a different person and a different standard when you are on the football field playing your games and it cannot be a different person when you are standing waiting for the bus at the bus stop. You have to stand beside each other and support those who are weaker than you are,” advised Lashley.
“Be conscious that you are standing before God and he alone will have the final say and he is the ultimate judge. So, I ask you as you stand, always stand with a clear conscience. No matter what happens, always stand before God, obeying the rules, listening and obeying every command, conscious that ultimately you will be called to stand before the Almighty God.” (KS)