Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, President Donald Ramotar has called for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) to become more dynamic towards addressing the changing and evolving hemispheric realities that can threaten the nation’s security.
Addressing the annual two-day officers’ conference yesterday morning at Base Camp Ayanganna, Ramotar stressed the need for the military to be prepared for other threats that today exist because of the international environment.
“National defence and security can no longer be confined to only preserving our country’s territorial integrity
and responding to actions that infringe the sovereignty.
These of course are essential roles, but other threats remain. There are threats that can potentially destroy the quality of life of large numbers of people that can be caused by natural disasters, by climate change, they can also damage a lot of our institutions, and we need to have our army involved in the protection of these areas as well,” the President said.
GINA said that this year’s conference is being held under the theme “Towards Greater Operational Readiness for National Defence and Security.”
President Ramotar said that the theme tackles the immediate task of the GDF. “Analyses of the threat facing Guyana needs to be reviewed and updated, it is time to look at the gaps identified by the Strategic Defence Review of 2014…ensure your operational contingency plans are updated and your training activities are designed to practise the skills and drills necessary to implement requisite actions,” he said.
According to GINA, the President said that of particular concern, must be the security of the hinterland and offshore. “Our miners and fishermen must be able to pursue their activities without facing the possibility of raids in their camps, ambushes along interior trails, and acts of piracy along our coastal fishing zones,” he said.
The President added that in going forward, the officers and senior Non Commissioned Officers need to understand the mission of the army.
“You must be aware of the national development priorities strategy and objective and in your planning, operations and training…you must not be thinkers by purely military perspectives and objectives, your officer corps of the Guyana Defence Force has a vital role in ensuring a sound reputation for our military,” he said.
President Ramotar also stressed professionalism and maintenance of the force’s credibility.“… I feel proud of our military’s achievements, its historic exploits …but like so many others, I am distraught by the occasional manifestation of unprofessional conduct, which despoils the image of this institution,” the Head of State said, according to GINA.
“…I wish to express my full support for the new Chief of Staff. In all my meetings with him since his assumption to office, I get the clear impression that he is determined to enhance that professionalism by ensuring strong discipline with vigorous training and dedication, and keeping the interest of the men and the women of the army always in full focus,” he added.
Brigadier Phillips in his address dealt with some of the initiatives to boost the military in 2014.
GINA said that he disclosed that three patrol vessels have been acquired under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, to be used by the Coast Guard to target inland security and another two vessels, purchased by Government are to be delivered to the Coast Guard in July.
Brigadier Phillips also said that that the GDF has started discussions towards rehabilitation and replacement of the existing fleet of aircraft, to address the issue of increased air patrols.