– Deputy CoS George Lewis tipped as top contender
As the Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Mark Phillips prepares for retirement, the Defence Board will soon be meeting to decide on his successor.
Outgoing Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips
During a special edition of ‘The Public Interest’ programme, taped in New York where President David Granger is attending the 71st General Assembly of the United Nations, the Head of State noted that upon his return to Guyana, the Defence Board would be meeting to make a final decision as to who would be appointed to head the country’s army.
“The Defence Board will meet when I return and make that choice… The Defence Board will make the final decision,” President Granger stated.
Nevertheless, President Granger noted that a succession plan was in place for when Brigadier Phillips officially retires.
“The next senior officer is going to take his place… that will be a smooth transition,” the Commander-in-Chief remarked.
When probed about the contenders for the position, President Granger posited that there were “about half a dozen of colonels” in the army for the Board to choose from, listing several: Deputy Chief-of-Staff, Colonel George Lewis; Adjutant General (AG), Colonel Nazrul Hussain; Quartermaster General, Colonel Paul Arthur and Colonel Khemraj Persaud.
“So, we have a wide range of choice,” the President stated.
However, it has been reported that the Deputy Chief-of-Staff is set to take over command of Guyana’s military following the retirement of the current Chief-of-Staff early next month.
On October 3, a farewell parade will take place in honour of Brigadier Phillips. It was reported too that on the same day, Lewis will take control of the Guyana Defence Force, but prior to this day, President Granger will promote the Colonel to the rank of Brigadier.
Phillips, who hails from Linden where he attended the Christianburg Primary School and the Christianburg Wismar Secondary School (Multilateral School), joined the GDF in December 1980.
He is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in the United Kingdom and has held several appointments, including Colonel (Administration and Quartering), and Colonel (General Staff) during his 30 years of military service.
He was also Guyana’s Head of Delegation to the Inter-American Defence Board from 2008 to 2009, and was up to 2011 Guyana’s non-resident Military Attaché to Venezuela. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier back in 2013 by then President Donald Ramotar before he took command of the GDF, succeeding Rear Admiral Gary Best.