By Adama Tine
Over 180 soldiers of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) of various ranks were last Thursday decorated during a ceremony at the State Guards Battalion in Banjul.
Twenty-five were promoted to Sergeant, 39 to Corporal and 124 to Lance Corporal respectively. The ceremony took place at the State Guards Battalion in Banjul.
Addressing the soldiers, Brigade General Turo Jawneh, said since the dawn of the new political dispensation, several officers had been promoted to various ranks within GAF after sitting to promotion exams as part of wider reforms of the Armed Forces.
“Promotions are supposed to be normal occurrences in every growing and transforming organization including the Gambia Armed Forces”, he stated, adding that promotions will be in accordance with available vacancies within the Gambia Armed Forces. He said they will strictly conform to several laid down procedures and standards.
General Jawneh cautioned the soldiers to be vigilant ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, urging them to be professional and apolitical in the execution of their sacred constitutional duties as soldiers of a democratic state.
On his part, Commander of the State Guards, Colonel Sait Njie said promotions in the military are meant to recognize hard work, dedication to duty, discipline and sacrifice. He said the promotion of 189 soldiers, majority of whom are from lower ranks is a perfect indication that the authorities do not only care about the welfare and plight of troops under command but also believe in their abilities to perform even better in their next responsibilities.
According to him, the promotion followed a transparent process and military best practices, which he said were preceded with the convening of a promotion board comprising trusted and reliable officers. He highlighted that the promotion could not have come at a better time than now when the new State Guards Battalion is on a transformation drive to refocus the mindset of troops in line with the roles they are expected to play in Gambia’s newfound democracy.