President urges GDF Conference to be prepared

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says “foot soldiers” call threatens cohesion

President Granger addressing the GDF Officers’ conference

Delivering the feature address on Thursday at the Annual GDF Officers’ Conference at Base Camp Ayanganna in the city, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President David Granger, called on members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) to be vigilant against mass actions.

This charge comes days after Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo urged Guyanese on Sunday last to be “foot soldiers” in order to uphold the country’s democracy, when he addressed the 20th observance of President Cheddi Jagan’s death anniversary, held at the Babu Jaan Crematorium site at Port Mourant on the Corentyne Coast in East Berbice.

Having recognised that efforts of the army have resulted in the reduction of domestic and transnational crimes, the Head of State pointed out that the recent calls in regard to ‘foot soldiers’ can potentially threaten the country’s cohesion.

“Threats might arise, however, from elements who wish to undermine internal security. Reckless remarks about an uprising and the provocative calls for the mobilisation of foot soldiers have the potential to rip apart the fragile fabric of cohesion that we enjoy,” the President outlined.

To this end, he reminded the army men and women of the Defence Act, which charges the military with the defence and maintenance of order in the country, and any other such duties that are defined by the Defence Board.

“This implies that the Force must be constantly in a state of readiness to deploy troops effectively and on short notice; to conduct operations, by day or by night, in heavy weather or terrain in any part of the country, to meet any emergency,” the Commander in Chief asserted.

The Opposition Leader had posited that there is need for supporters of the PPP to become ‘foot soldiers’ of that party since, according to him, the current administration is sending clear signals that it wants to drive fear into the working class and, to a lesser extent, the business community. This fear, he said, the Government is also trying to drive into certain ethnic communities.

“Many of our supporters are worried. But how do you address it? People are looking to the People’s Progressive Party for leadership in this country. So then we must offer the leadership, and we cannot offer the leadership if we are fearful ourselves. We are the only party that stands between this corrupt Government and dictatorship… Don’t be intimidated, it can’t disappear all of us. This is a different era, and we have to respond by doing a number of things,” Jagdeo had told supporters at Babu Jaan. (Guyana Times)

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