Acquisition of Bell 412EPI helicopter boosts Guyana’s security – Army Chief

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…President Ali pledges more resources to enhance GDF’s capabilities

The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Air Corps’ capabilities were improved with the acquisition of the Bell 412EPI helicopter which landed in Guyana on Saturday.

GDF’s Chief of Staff Godfrey Bess said that the new helicopter is a significant moment for Guyana’s defence and security architecture. He added that it is significant as the nation continues to press on in the face of deliberate acts of aggression from neighbouring Venezuela.

The Bell 412EPI helicopter

“It is an important moment which will result in enhanced delivery of service to the nation, particularly as it relates to aviation security… In terms of [the] nation’s security, this is a significant tool to enhance the effectiveness of security and Joint Services operation. It will also allow us to have a substantial presence in assisting with the surveillance security of our offshore operations and our fisheries zones and also our vast remote land space. This aircraft is a national asset,” Bess said.

He reminded that just about a month ago, President Irfaan Ali at the Officers’ Conference clearly defined his vision for the transformation of Guyana’s defence and security architecture. He had informed that the plan will be in a systematic area which will enhance all areas of competency.

“With this air asset, there will be enhanced support to the nation. Operationally, we will be able to conduct long-range area reconnaissance, engage in swifter troop movement and insertion into our far-flung regions, perform casualty evacuation, medical evacuation, search and rescue mission and training,” he said.

Investments, enhancements

Meanwhile, President Ali said Guyana has been continually making investments in human resources, adding that his Government will continue to invest in the training, upgrading and development of the human asset.

“With this acquisition (of the helicopter) comes a new era of training and upgrading era of development. It brings, with it, new potential, new capacity and these are things we have to celebrate too. We have spent a lot of resources in upgrading our human resources to take care of these assets and to ensure that we move towards a modern pool of capital acquisition that will improve our efficiency and enhance our national security,” he explained.

President Irfaan Ali at the ceremony on Saturday

President Ali also announced that on Monday, a team will depart Guyana to inspect the performance of the metal sharp and to analyse the various marine asset options Guyana has, with the aim of moving towards the acquisition of new marine assets to support our work of the Coast Guard.

The Commander in Chief further stated that there is need to analyse the new requirements of the security systems based on the developmental path. He explained that Guyana has a lot more economic assets to protect while alluding to the impending development that comes with Guyana becoming an oil-producing nation. Additionally, the President said that being prepared for the security challenges requires a modern forward-looking security architecture and that is what his Government is working on building.

He also expressed gratitude to the United States and Bell Helicopters for the partnership in supporting the enhancement of Guyana’s national security capabilities.

The President said that the Air Corps has the capability to maintain the new helicopter not because they are just responsible but because they have been trained to ensure that the assets, they are provided with are properly maintained.

Enhancing Air Corps’ fleet

Flight Operations Manager at the Air Corps, Lieutenant Colonel Mohinder Ramjag said that the addition of the Bell 412EPI is a testament to the President’s commitment to strengthen the nation’s security. He said that the improvement of the nation’s security can positively impact economic growth, stability and development.