The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has over the years suffered from organisational neglect which has caused the destruction of the National Cadet Corps and the near extinction of the GDF Reserve Force (the Guyana People’s Militia). This is according to information released by the government in wake of allegations that President David Granger has been acting outside of his remit as Commander-in-Chief.

In the President’s defence, the government in a statement said, “The Head of Government, since Independence, has been Chairman of the Defence Board and Minister of Defence; his duties are detailed in the Defence Act, Chapter 15:01 of the Laws of Guyana.”

It was pointed out too that it is a known fact that defence operations and training had been neglected during the former administration in the years 1992-2015. However, since the APNU+AFC Government ascended to office in 2015, there have been efforts to ensure that there have been regular annual exercises, such as Exercise Greenheart and Exercise Ironweed. These exercises were restarted under this administration, it was asserted.

The government statement read too that, “It should be noted that the President in his private capacity, before entering office, compiled a book ‘Values and Standards of the Guyana Defence Force’ in wake of the murder of persons in the Essequibo River by members of the Coast Guard.”

Needless to say, it added, since 2015 there have been a plethora of changes in the GDF, including improvements to the Basic Recruitment Course. Moreover, officers are now being trained in equitation to enable them to conduct horseback patrols.

Furthermore, it was disclosed that the GDF has been able to acquire engineer’s equipment from the People’s Republic of China which are being used to build roads; maritime patrols not limited to Operation Ocean Guard. This measure, it was noted, is aimed at continuous aerial and maritime surveillance of the coastline and territorial waters have increased and have led to the suppression of piracy.

Also, operational deployment along the country’s western border has been strengthened under Operation Armadillo which was launched to respond to threats posed by criminal gangs along the borders and to protect the country’s frontline villages. This operation has resulted in a reduction in reports of assaults by foreign ‘Sindicato’ gangs and has since reinforced border security.

It should be noted too, the statement added, that all of the changes have been made on the direction of the GDF Board and is the full understanding of the Chief-of-Staff to improve the efficiency of the Force. “Had there not been changes to the GDF, it would be deemed a dereliction of the President’s duty not to correct the bad practices which have damaged the reputation of the Force,” the statement added.


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