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GDF Top brass withholds one month salary bonus from soldiers who may have had discipline issues – 27th Dec 2012

The Commander-in-Chief giveth and the Chief of Staff taketh away. Not all members of the Guyana Defence Force got the happy Christmas they were expecting following a move by the army’s top brass to withhold that one month’s salary bonus from a number of soldiers who may have had discipline issues over the past year.

President Ramotar announced, the Christmas bonus for the joint services last week, one month’s salary. It has become an annual treat to those who serve and protect but for the GDF, getting that bonus may have to do with the quality of service.

Even before the President’s announcement came, Unit heads were told that they should make it known to the ranks who fall under them that the bonus is earned and could only be received by those who had a year free of disciplinary action including written letters, fines or detention.

The unit heads across the GDF were told to submit payment sheets for the bonus with only the names of those who had no disciplinary action over the past year.

Capitol News understands, that well over 50 soldiers found themselves with no bonus as announced by the Commander-in-Chief, President Ramotar.

A retired army officer said, the move is an unusual one. The officer said, once a soldier would have broken rules and or committed offences in breach of the army act, he or she would have been charged under the army’s rules and dealt with according to the army’s policy. He said, so to punish them once for their misgiving or indiscipline, then punish them again at the end of the year for the same incident is plain wrong and that move should be reviewed.

A number of officers said, this is the first time that they have heard of such a policy and brings to the fore what they see as a troubling trend, rules and policies being made up overnight with very little consideration for those who are on the frontline serving and protecting the nation.

While the army’s top brass was busy checking the bonus list and checking it twice before paying ranks, the force is still silent on the complaints of a soldier who was locked up for 30 days in what he considers inhumane conditions at the army headquarters.

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