The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has expressed regret for the delay in the payment of benefits to survivors of the Camp Groomes explosion in 2000.
A release from the army said that the GDF noted an article in Tuesday’s edition of the Kaieteur News titled, “Camp Groomes survivors still await word on meaningful compensation,” and wished “to assure the claimants that their benefits are forthcoming.”
A proposal for the injured soldiers to be paid benefits as if they had already retired was approved by the Defence Board, however, a re-computation resulting in improved benefits for them, was currently being verified to ensure payment, shortly. “The further amendments, which were necessary to give them more money, resulted in the delay. Their benefits when paid will be effective from 2014-01-01,” the release stated.
It said that high ranking officials of the GDF had met with the survivors yesterday and explained the delay in processing. Additionally the ranks were assured that the Force was “in touch with all involved agencies to have the process completed by Feb 28. They were each given an advance payment to take care of their expenses” until they receive the promised gratuity payment. In the meantime, the Force is prepared to continue addressing the welfare concerns of the soldiers until they are in receipt of their benefits.
The Guyana Defence Force regretted the inconvenience caused due to the delay and said that it will seek to make any interventions to ensure a speedy conclusion of this matter. “The Force wishes to assure the soldiers that it values the contributions which they have made and remains committed to its serving and past members,” the release concluded.
The blasts which killed three soldiers and injured 11 others occurred early on the morning of December 18, 2000