President David Granger yesterday said that each capital town and Administrative Region in Guyana will have a unit of the Guyana People’s Militia (GPM).
The Head of State made the statement yesterday at the Colonel Robert Mitchell Jungle and Amphibious Training School (CRM-JATS) at Makouria in the Essequibo River, where the GPM’s 2017 training camp is underway. A release from the Ministry of the Presidency said that the aim of the training is to orient reservists to the jungle environment and to teach them basic survival skills.
The camp is being conducted simultaneously at CRM-JATS and Base Camp Seweyo on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.
The Head of State said, “In becoming an army of the people, in becoming a national army, in becoming part of this process of total national defence, I just want to emphasise the importance about the environment… We believe in the strategy of total national defence, that is to say, that we bring together all of the elements that our country could mobilise to protect our environment and our territoriality.”
The Commander-in-Chief said that in addition to safeguarding the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) also has a role of ensuring that the civil power is supported. In this regard, Commandant of the Guyana People’s Militia, Colonel Gary Beaton disclosed that reservists also receive training in national policy, humanitarian aid and disaster relief. As such, they are now prepared to render assistance in firefighting and disaster relief operations.
The release said that Granger also reminded reservists and ranks of the GDF of the core values of the organisation to which they belong. These include responsibility, respect for the law, respect for others, correct conduct, and appropriate social behaviour.
“Soldiers, whether they belong to the regular or the reserve force, must be exemplars of the high standards that we expect in the Government of persons who have the honour to wear the uniform of this Republic,” President Granger said.
According to the release, some of the training is being done by instructors from the Brazilian Army.
Meanwhile, Chief of Staff of the GDF, Colonel Patrick West said that this annual camp allows people to get rid of phobias. It also affords them the opportunity to develop skills, which can be useful if they choose to seek jobs in the forestry and/or mining sectors.
“Mr. President I can assure you that we have fulfilled your mandate in creating a reserve force based on your direction on December 1, 2015. We are happy to note that this Force is growing and very soon they will be augmented into regular Force and be a part of Force exercises and other operations,” Colonel West said.
The release said that the 2017 camp commenced on July 30 with 414 with reservists drawn from Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and 10, who were sectioned into two groups to be trained simultaneously at CRM-JATS and Camp Seweyo before they were rotated on August 4. Of that number, 24 dropped for medical and other reasons. Colonel Beaton said that over 50 percent of the reservists are attending military training for the first time. Thirty-four percent of reservists at the camp are females.
Members of the National Security Council including Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Attorney General, Basil Williams and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan were also present during the visit to the training camp.