GDF to brief Parliament committee on border security

Yesterday, President David Granger, ahead of his visit to Baramita, Barima-Waini today, announced that he has instructed the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) to brief the Parliamentary committee on security on the steps that are being taken to secure communities located along the 800-kilometre border with Venezuela as a result of the unstable situation in that country, as well as the ongoing border controversy.

A release from the Ministry of the Presidency said that the Head of State also indicated that he expects that civil society will continue to be fully briefed on the matter.

According to the release,  he assured Guyanese that Government is concerned about security and is deeply involved in ensuring their safety.

“At the Defence Board meeting that was held last Thursday, I instructed that the Guyana Defence Force should brief the Parliamentary Committee on security to let them know what preparations are taking place and I expect that there will be full participation both by members of the Government side and the Opposition side. If necessary, we will take this to civil society and I have already briefed the Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, that civil society must be aware of what is taking place. So, we are operating at different levels; we are operating at a local level in the villages, in the frontline villages themselves”, he said.

The President referenced the Frontline Village Policy that was announced during his visit to Whitewater, also in Region One, earlier this month, which includes the establishment of military patrol bases and heightened 24-hour security by the GDF and the Guyana Police Force.

The release said that the Commander-in-Chief, who chairs the Defence Board, has taken the lead in conducting outreaches to the frontline communities and it is because of this that he chose to remain in Guyana and let Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge attend the 29th Intersessional meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government for the Caribbean Community in Haiti in his stead.

The President said, according to the release,  that the unstable situation in Venezuela has led to a surge in illegal migration, which has the potential to open avenues for illicit activities such as gun-running and narco-trafficking.

Reassuring that Government is fully engaged in ensuring that security and all other public services are adequately provided to residents living in border communities, the Head of State noted that Government is taking a total approach to protecting the country.

Expressing satisfaction with the role the Regional Chairman of Region One, Brentnol Ashley, has been playing and the participation of the Regional Chairman of Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven), Gordon Bradford through the regional security mechanisms, the President described the work in the regions as non-partisan.

Noting his visits to Whitewater and Kaikan, he said, “I am very glad that in both cases we saw the presence of the Regional Chairman. In Region One the Barima-Waini region he actually came out with me to Whitewater. In Region Seven the Chairman actually came out with me. Sometimes they have been complaints about the attitude of Regional Chairmen but I was very heartened that this is not seen as a partisan matter; that it is seen as something that affects the whole country.”

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