By Leroy Smith
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defense Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips has firmly stated that the GDF will not sit idly by and allow any illegal incursion of the country’s territory.
Brigadier Phillips, in an invited comment to iNews, spoke specifically about the latest position of Venezuelan President, Nicholas Maduro who signed a decree claiming Guyana’s oil rich waters – a move that was sternly rejected by the Guyana government.
The Chief of Staff is of the view that any claim to Essequibo is illegal and it must not be entertained by Guyanese, Venezuelan or international body. According to the Brigadier, the 1899 ruling in Guyana’s favour is binding and still remains legal and more so an international law that has to be honored.
Asked specifically about the ability to defend Guyana should the controversy spiral out of control, Brigadier Phillips made it clear that the nature of the GDF is to defend Guyana and it is in the psyche of the men and women who serve in the army.
He dismissed reports of lack of man power and resources, maintaining that Guyana is ready and capable to address any invasion.
Last year, heavily armed soldiers from Venezuela were found in Guyana at an area in Essequibo where they were reportedly providing protection to a group of Venezuelans who travelled by boat into Guyana and were conducting some form of survey in the same disputed area.