Additional resources for effective border patrols -Harmon

In wake of the discovery of an illegal road heading towards Venezuela, the security forces will be outfitted with additional resources to increase their ability to effectively patrol the country’s borders, according to Minister of State Joseph Harmon.

“I can say to you these activities on our borders are engaging the attention of the National Security Committee that meets every week under the chairmanship of the president, and in the National Assembly we said that we are going to increase the capabilities of our security forces to do active surveillance of  our borders and to be able to determine activities which take place there in a faster time…It is a large border and therefore sometimes things happen before you can actually do something to prevent a violation of our territorial integrity”, Harmon said on Friday.

These comments came one day after Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, disclosed to the media that the National Security Commit-tee received information about a road constructed in Guyana heading towards the Venezuela border.

Harmon said on Friday that the bulk of the borders separating Guyana from its neighbours are land and in some cases rivers and these are not every wide which results in “a lot of traffic”.

He said that there are several roads on the Guyana end that go towards the border separating this country from Venezuela and Brazil. He said that sometimes because of the vastness of the hinterland, some of the roads are constructed quickly and unnoticed.

Harmon used the opportunity to assure the nation that at the level of the government and the security forces very decisive steps have been taken in this regard some of which were alluded to by the president during his remarks at the opening ceremony of the Guyana Defence Force Annual Officers’ Conference.

“We take note of these matters where roads are concerned, where the movement of personnel across our borders are concerned and we encourage persons who actually have to do so to use the crossings that are identified as immigration points…along our border and therefore if you were to cross at some other point and don’t report to the police or to the immigration authorities then you would have been committing an offence”, he stressed.

He noted that the government, the National Security Committee and the GDF are prepared to embrace an earlier suggestion that reporters should be given the opportunity to visit border locations so as to better inform the public. He said though that the security and safety of those media workers are concerns that will attract a considerable amount of attention.

President David Granger during his address to army members and other security officials had said that the GDF will undergo significant restructuring to ensure greater efficiency and in keeping with its responsibility to protect the country’s patrimony.

He announced that the Force has embarked on a programme of long-range patrols aimed at re-affirming the country’s national territorial borders – from Punta Playa to the Kutari and from Ankoko to Orealla and that the Air Corps and Coast Guard will be upgraded to allow for continuous surveillance over the country’s airspace, maritime space and land-space and to support search-and-rescue services to persons in distress.

Government has previously said that there is a possibility that drones will be utilized given the vastness of the country’s borders and one’s ability to get to many parts.

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