The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the People’s Republic of China yesterday donated approximately $1.2 billion in equipment to the Guyana Defence Force, including ambulances, trucks and water tankers.
Speaking at handing over ceremony at the Coast Guard Headquarters, President David Granger said, “The Guyana Defence Force is entrusted with the protection of this country’s patrimony. The force however faces numerous challenges in safeguarding and superintending our national airspace, our land borders, our marine resources and our rivers.
“Infrastructural development is a top national priority. The Technical Corps of the GDF must be strengthened in order to allow the force to contribute effectively to national development and to execute its mandate of protecting our territory and preventing transnational crime.”
Granger pointed out that national defence is inseparable from national development and as such public infrastructure enables and ensures public security. Stressing the importance of transportation, communication and infrastructural development, he said the force must be able to ensure that it can effectively respond to medical and environmental hazards in any part of the country.
Recognising the need to enhance defence and development at the same time, the GDF decided in 2015 to put emphasis on the recapitalization of its Technical Corps. “The Defence Board sees the Air Corps as providing continuing surveillance over our coastland, over our maritime borders and over the approaches of our country,” he said, adding that the Air Corps and Coast Guard must be able to conduct rescue missions.
“The government therefore thanks the Government of the People’s Republic of China for its incomparable cooperation and its assistance for over four and a half decades. The donations will improve the capabilities of the entire GDF and we look forward to the continued support,” he said.
Chief of Staff Patrick West also thanked the PLA for the “extremely significant” donation, which he said would positively impact the country’s national development as it included machinery for the construction of roads and bridges.
“It is notable that this equipment will to a large measure have a total effect of helping the engineering battalion and the specialist battalion and it helps to satisfy the vision of effective transformation for total national defence,” he added.
Chinese Ambassador to Guyana Cui Jianchun also made brief remarks. “This year marks the 45th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Guyana,” he noted. “Over the past 45 years, no matter how international situations changed, the friendly relationship between China and Guyana has been developing closely and constantly.”
He said the Chinese government values the relationship between the PLA and the GDF highly and as such, stood ready to further broaden and deepen the interchange between the two forces.
“The handing over of military equipment is once again a testimonial of the friendly and practical cooperation between PLA and GDF.
I believe there will be more occasions like this and the PLA will continue its support for GDF. We will spare no efforts to push forward the relationship between the two armies and bring the China-Guyana relationship to a new high,” he added.
The donation comprised 31 pieces of equipment including: three wheeled dozers, two wheeled loaders, one large wheeled excavator, two wheeled graders, two vibratory rollers, two electric stone crushers, one mobile air compressor, four four-tonne tipper trucks, one low bed trailer, three water tankers (10,000 litres), three fuel tankers (2,000 litres), two off-road ambulances and one hauler truck.