Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Navy Commander Visits Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, UK

CNS at the Britannia Royal Naval College18 December 2014.    The Chief of the Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro, has attended the December Passing Out Parade of the Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth, United Kingdom, which was held on Thursday 18 December 2014.

The Admiral, a proud alumnus of the College himself, was also honoured with the role of inspecting three of the non-graduating divisions on parade.

The parade, which was reviewed by Vice Admiral David Steel (Chief of Naval Personnel & Training and Second Sea Lord of the Royal Navy), was also graced by Rear Admiral Ben Key (Flag Officer Sea Training of the  Royal  Navy). Other VIPs in attendance were Captain Juan P Retamoso (Defence Attache of the Uruguayan Navy to UK) and Captain Daniel Aguirre (Defence Attache of the Chilean Navy to UK)

Delivering his remarks as the Reviewing Officer on the occasion, Admiral Steel congratulated all the graduands on successfully going through the 7-month training period and wished them well in their careers as naval officers beyond the BRNC.

He also commended the families and friends of the graduands for supporting them in their quest to become naval officers. Finally, he doffed his hat for the instructors whose hard work and dedication had brought the graduands to a successful completion of their training.

The graduands who were also admonished to be worthy ambassadors of their respective navies, comprised 82 Royal Navy Cadets, 18 Royal Fleet Auxilliary Cadets and 23 International Cadets, of which the Ghana Navy had a representation in Sub Lieutenant Stephen Yaw Adjei-Djan. Other navies represented were Oman (12), Bangladesh (2), Belize (2), Trinidad & Tobago (1), Libya (1), Kenya (1), Jordan (1) and Jamaica (1).

Activities leading up to the parade itself included a Festival of Lessons and Carols (held at the College Chapel), a dinner held in honour of the VIP guests, which was hosted by Captain Henry Duffy and his wife, Mrs Lisa Duffy, at the Captain’s magnificent house in the College. Both events were held on the eve of the Parade. Prior to the parade on the day itself, the VIP guests, including the CNS, were hosted to breakfast by a section of cadets, at the Senior Gunroom, after which the CNS was given a brief on the conduct of training at the College, before attending a Valedictory Service in honour of the graduands.

At a buffet lunch held at the end of the parade, Rear Admiral Biekro was full of praise for his host, Captain Duffy and his wife, as well as the entire staff of the College for the excellent reception accorded him and his delegation as well as the quality of training delivered at the College. He also interacted with other VIP guests present and congratulated Sub Lt Adjei-Djan on successfully completing the training.

The CNS was accompanied to the College by Commodore Seth Vincent Aidoo Coomson, Ghana’s Defence Adviser to the UK and Mr Asare-Bediako Damptey, Head of Chancery at the Ghana High Commission iCNS in a chat with Sub Lieutenant Stephen Adjei-Djann UK.

The Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC), situated on the banks of the River Dart in UK, has delivered world-class naval training to officers of the Royal Navy as well as many other officers all over the world since it was built in 1905. Naval officer training, however, started well before 1905 and as early as 1863, when two ships, HMS BRITANNIA and HMS HINDOSTAN arrived in the River Dart to establish a permanent home for Royal Naval Officer training.

BRNC’s contribution to defence today is as relevant as ever – be it initial officer training, support to defence diplomacy outputs through training of international officers from various partner countries all over the world, or as a centre of excellence for leadership training across the Royal Navy.

The relationship between the Ghana Navy and the BRNC dates back as far as the early 1970s and has seen a number of distinguished senior naval officers, both serving and retired, receive their training at this prestigious college. The list of senior officers who have passed through BRNC include Vice Admiral Matthew Quashie, the Chief of the Defence Staff and Rear Admiral Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro, the Chief of the Naval Staff.

The College continues to partner with the Ghana Navy to train young naval officers from Ghana, the most recent beneficiary being Sub Lieutenant Stephen Adjei-Djan, who graduated from the College on 18 December 2014 at a ceremony attended by the CNS, Rear Admiral Biekro.

Soldiers cautioned against Criminal Acts

9 January 2015. The Former Commander of the Support Services Brigade, Brig Gen Ransford Kwame Agbemasu (rtd) has cautioned Personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces who engage themselves in armed robbery, ‘galamsey’ and other criminal acts in the Country to desist from such practice.

He said their involvement in such criminal acts diminishes the image, lowers the reputation of the Ghana Armed Forces and also reduces the trust in defending mother Ghana as a whole.

He said this during the end of year (2014), West African Soldiers Social Activities (WASSA) held at the Support Services Brigade Headquarters, Burma Camp, on Friday 9 January, 2015.

He noted that the purpose for the activity was to create an avenue for all ranks to come together to make merry as a big family, take stock of the previous year’s occurrences and chart the way forward.

“Make do with the little that you have, and endeavour to live within your means.  He said. Brig Gen Agbemasu (rtd), urged junior ranks and young Officers not to be in haste to voluntarily retire in search of greener pastures abroad. ‘ It was quite unfortunate that most retired personnel still hold the belief that the grass is greener at the other side, there is no better opportunities any where than your own motherland’, he added.

Brig Gen Agbemasu commended the female personnel of the Brigade who composed the special contingent which conducted the ceremonial guard changing parade at the Flagstaff House for the wonderful display of drill.

He commended the Brigade Commander, Brig Gen Musa Wahja for his hard work and the pragmatic steps he took in constructing the Camp Commandant Office Block and the Arch at the main entrance to the Headquarters.

The Camp Commandant, Major Richard Nimako, said in 2014, the Command road leading to the camp car park was rehabilitated. He revealed that the Brigade has outlined plans to expand infrastructure, including the building of a new physical training gym among others. He thanked the sponsors for their support in making the program a success.

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Nii Larye Afotey Agbo pledged 100 bags of cement in support of the ongoing projects. Awards were presented to personnel and civilian employees who distinguished themselves during the year.

Present at the Occasion were the minister, some serving Generals, Retired Generals, the Navy dance band, the central band and Sandema Kori youth Association to entertain the guest.  

Labadi Villas Health Walk-2015

3 January 2015. Brig-Gen Dan Mishio has encouraged resident of the Labadi Villas Club to keep up with the traditions of the Club and further work at improving it. He said this at the annual Labadi Villas end of year get-together held on 3 January 2015 at Labadi Villas, Burma Camp.

This year’s program was preceded by a health walk by officers and their families, all residents of Labadi Villas.  According to Brig-Gen Dan Mishio, a former resident of Labadi Vilas and the Special Guest of Honour for the occasion, the Club was formed to check the insecurity of the Villas.

He said a plan was in place to improve security measures in the vicinity as a group, and later introduced Welfare issues to support members. He went on to encourage resident to keep up with the Club’s traditions and strive to improve its security, cooperation and welfare. He further assured resident that he and other former members of the Club would continue to support the Club anytime they were called upon.

In his opening remarks, President of the Club, Col Emmanuel Kotia, enumerated some significant achievements of the Club during the past year. They included the production of the Club’s new T-Shirt, which was designed by a fellow resident Col KK Arkoful, and the launch of the Club’s website. He further outlined plans of the Club for the New Year; which include improvement of security in the vicinity, construction of a basketball and tennis ball courts among others.

The Chairman of the Club encouraged participants to be punctual at club meetings. He further encouraged them to make it a duty to visit old and new members of the Villas to promote unity. He charged all to partake in the monthly National Sanitation Days.

The health walk started from Labadi Villas through some streets in Burma Camp and back to Labadi Villas. Participants stopped in front of the Ghana Armed Forces Sports Complex for some stretching exercises during the course of the walk. In addition to the walk, wives and children of members were treated to some horse riding at Labadi Villas, other activities on the day included bouncing castle, musical chairs competition and a balloon pool which was actively enjoyed by the children.

Present at the occasion were the Chief Executive Officer of GRIDCO, Ingr William Amunah, and the Chief Executive Officer of VRA, Ing Kirk Coffie.

Soldiers Join Asanteman for First National Sanitation Day for 2015

3 January 2015. Soldiers of Headquarters Central Command and 4 Infantry Battalion  took part in the National Sanitation exercise held in the Kumasi metropolis on 3 January 2015 to clear Kumasi of filth to attain its “Garden City” status in the West African Region.

The national sanitation day which was instituted by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is to clear Ghana of excessive filth and prevent the spread of communicable diseases. 

It is worth mentioning that military personnel as part of their national duty also joined the citizens of Kumasi for the first clean up exercise of the year 2015. This time personnel moved from the barracks to join their civilian friends to clean areas like Adum, Pampaso, Kumasi Central Market, Morshie Zongo and Akwatia line. They helped clear and distill gutters to the admiration of all. This clean up exercise also fostered good military – civil relationship.

Regional Heads of various security Agents were present including Brig Gen JA Boampong, General Officer Commanding Central Command; Commanding Officer 4 Infantry Battalion, Lt Col Fusieni Salifu and the Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kofi Boakye.

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Hon Julius Debrah, Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon Dr Samuel Sarpong and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly Mayor, Hon Kojo Bonsu were all present for the cleanup exercise.

To show a sense of patriotism and belongingness, personalities from the entertainment industry like VVIP group, Rev Dan Prah, Bill Asamoah, Lil wayne and Oboy Salinco all from Kumawood film industry were also present to participate in the exercise.

appreciation to all those who helped in the cleanup exercise and urged that the exercise should incorporate in their daily lives. He admonished that cleaning the environment is a shared responsibility and therefore charged everybody to get involved. Adding that cleaning the surroundings would help prevent diseases caused by filth and unhygienic conditions.

General Officer Commanding’s Christmas and End-of-Year Goodwill Message

1.    The year 2014 is coming to an end and we express our utmost gratitude to the Almighty God for his guidance, blessings and grace throughout the year.   Christmas is just around the corner and soon we shall be ushered into the New Year. I entreat all of us to reflect on all that the passing year has offered us and give the appropriate appreciation to God for His benevolence in our lives.   Filled with the spirit of this joyous season, I wish all members of the "SPEARS" family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  

2.    As the year grinds to the end, it is necessary for us to take stock of our achievements and challenges and make projections for the future.   Our immense contribution towards the maintenance of peace and security within the Sector was commendable and we should all be proud of this. Our participation in OP CALMLIFE contributed in maintaining an appreciable level of security in the cities and towns within our AOR.  Our efforts in other operations including OP HALT, OP SAFE, OP SITDOWN LOOK and OP GONGONG have made positive impacts on national security and social development.

3.    Despite the financial and logistics constraints, the Command made positive efforts in training personnel to meet the required operational standards.  The Command was able to organise the Inter Command/Formation Boxing Competition and emerged the first runner-up.  
We had our Sports Competition and finished up with EX STARLIGHT STRETCH, which was also successfully organised to improve on troops’ tactical skills in the field.   As we enter the New Year, challenges should be expected along the way.   The on-going retirement exercise of personnel has left a human resource gap, which must be quickly filled.  It behoves all personnel to prepare and psyche themselves appropriately for the task ahead.  For those of you who have suddenly found yourselves in leadership roles, endeavour to develop yourselves to fill the void and live up to the desired expectation.   

4.    I entreat all under Command to appreciate the current effort by High Command to improve civil-military relations and work towards that noble goal.   Issues of abuse of human rights should be resisted and relegated to the background even in the face of extreme provocation.   The few of you who had infractions with the law should desist from those negative behaviours.  You should turn new leave and exhibit the conduct that will position the entire Command in a positive light. Let the discipline and esprit de corps associated with all military units worldwide rule your lives.    It is our ability to do the right things under difficult conditions that project us as professionals.

5.    The yuletide season is meant to be enjoyed by all and sundry but for us soldiers, we have a duty to ensure security at all times.   Let us remain alert and vigilant as we celebrate the season and let moderation be our watchword in all our indulgences. 
For our comrades proceeding on retirement, we wish you well in your future endeavours.   Let us not forget our comrades who passed on during the year and pray for their peaceful repose with the Lord.   To all bereaved families in the "SPEARS" fraternity, receive once again our sincere condolence and may the Almighty replace your loss and comfort you in His divine way.

6.    Lastly, let me once gain use this opportunity to wish all Officers, Men, Women, Civilian Employees and Families of the great "SPEARS" Command, a very Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year. May God bless us all.

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