The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has been tasked to lead the fight against illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.
Speaking at the presentation of colours to the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (Recce) of the Ghana Armed Forces in Accra yesterday, President Akufo-Addo stated, “As government intensifies its efforts to curb the illegal mining phenomenon, otherwise referred to as ‘galamsey,’ that is polluting our water bodies, destroying our farmlands and forests and threatening the very survival of this country, Ghanaians would continue to rely on the efforts of our security services, with the Armed Forces in the forefront, to help deal with the problem.”
He said he was confident that as always, the Armed Forces will rise to the occasion.
“All of us owe a great debt of gratitude to you, the men and women of the Armed Forces, for being prepared to put your lives on the line to keep our nation safe, safeguard our sovereignty and protect our territorial integrity. As the saying goes, ‘you are the salt of the earth,’” he said.
The ceremony, the very first in the history of the GAF to be held for the Regiment, is in tune with long-standing military traditions across the world.
It has been the sole preserve for units in the infantry.
However, the decision to present the Regiment with its own colours is in line with a decision taken to present colours to deserving combat support units of the GAF.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “The traditional challenges to security, such as chieftaincy conflicts, land disputes, religious intolerance, ethnic conflicts and political rivalry, are being compounded by contemporary threats like drug and human trafficking, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, armed robberies, cyber crime and activities of nomadic herdsmen.”
Even though he admitted the fact that the challenges to Ghana’s national security are numerous, complex and sometimes quite unpredictable, he indicated that “nonetheless, and in the face of all these threats, you continue to discharge your duties equably and professionally.”
President Akufo-Addo assured, “In terms of military preparedness, government will actively support contemporary training methods that will not only keep you abreast with international military trends, but will also ensure that you remain the beacon of Armed Forces across the continent.
“We are committed to providing you with modern military equipment which would complement the training you would receive. Government is also committed to enriching the human resource base of the Armed Forces by supporting initiatives that will provide further education for soldiers, sailors and airmen to enhance further their skills at protecting our territorial integrity.”
He commended the officers and men of the Armoured Recce Regiment for their commitment to duty and their overall contribution to the GAF since its establishment in 1963.
“For well over 54 years, this Regiment has provided armoured support to infantry units deployed on various national and international peace support operations,” he said.
Facts On File
The ceremony for the presentation of colours, in tune with longstanding military traditions across the world, has been the sole preserve for units in the infantry.
The only other combat support units, which have ever been presented with their own colours in the Ghana Armed Forces are the 48 Engineer Regiment and the 66 Artillery Regiment.
According to the military, the colours of a regiment represent its honour and devotion to duty.
Being the very first time in the history of the Ghana Armed Forces that such a ceremony had taken place, President Akufo-Addo underscored, “So you can see, it is an auspicious day for me. It means that the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment has now joined to me in a special way, for my future recollections of this day will always feature you.”
The colours represent the fighting spirit of military units, and are symbols of bravery and unity.
President Akufo-Addo recalled, “As far back as some 5,000 years ago, the practice of carrying colours, both to act as a rallying point for troops and to mark the location of a commander, originated in ancient Egypt.
In the Middle Ages in Europe, and in the chaos that characterised battles in those times, he indicated that soldiers needed to be able to determine where their regiment was, and the colours of their respective regiments served that purpose.
He therefore advised the Armoured Recce Regiment that “with your own colours, I urge you to revere them and be guided always by their undying principles of perseverance, unity and bravery in the protection of lives and property, and the defence of the territorial sovereignty of our beloved Ghana.”