Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, who also serves as the Secretary to the Defence Board, has said that the Government of Guyana is committed to providing the necessary resources and equipment to the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) so that it can effectively fulfil its mandate as he commissioned two new Islander planes for the Force’s Air Corps.
According to DPI, speaking at a simple ceremony held at Air Station London, Timehri, the Secretary of the Defence Board said that the acquisition of the planes are part of Government’s plans for the recapitalisation of the Force as outlined by President David Granger in the ‘Total National Defence Policy.’
Minister Harmon said that it is the President’s vision that Guyana must have a well-commanded, well-trained, well-equipped Defence Force with the core capabilities to keep citizens safe and secured. He noted that the GDF, in order to fulfil this mandate must be multi-role, flexible and fully integrated with sufficient support systems.
“The Total National Defense Policy is designed to give our regular and reserve forces the resources they need to perform their mission. This policy is based on five pillars: personnel, readiness, infrastructure, morale and equipment. A policy is a course or principle action adopted or proposed by a government. A policy is followed by a plan and a plan has to be implemented. All of this has to be driven by interest and the will of the state for there to be concrete action and subsequent success”.
The Minister of State noted that the Government of Guyana will not hesitate to provide the support necessary to ensure that the servicemen and women are fully equipped to uphold the Constitution and protect Guyana. The aircraft, he said, represent an investment that demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the GDF receives the necessary aviation support required to execute its mandate.
“These aircraft being received today will engage in activities that include ensuring the security and integrity of our borders, the security and integrity of our maritime space, especially with regard to the activities related to the production of oil and gas and anti-piracy efforts, provide support to the resuscitated Engineering Corps of the GDF in its activities with regard to the infrastructural development in the hinterland, promote the policy of equal development and the delivery of public services and bridging the gap between our coastland and hinterland communities and supporting the establishment of a ‘green economy’ and ‘green’ state by monitoring activities in our forest for the control and mitigation of carbon emissions that affect climate change,” he said.
Minister Harmon noted too that it would also assist in the maintenance of the integrity of the country’s protected areas, improve the security and protection of citizens in the hinterland especially indigenous communities, improve relations and the delivery of resources and infrastructure to hinterland communities and facilitate medical evacuations from hinterland communities, DPI said.
Chief of Staff of the Force, Brigadier Patrick West, in his brief remarks, said that in addition to the Islanders, the Force expects to acquire two more Skyvans in the coming months to add to its fleet.
“Words cannot express our profound gratitude over the continued support that produce results such as these. These aircraft, as you were told, will enhance our surveillance capabilities and provide increased support for our forward locations. It is also envisaged that they will provide much needed assistance in administrative and other duties and contribute to the continued support for our civil defence operations,” he said.
Commanding Officer of Air Corps, Commander Courtney Burns said that the Corps play an integral role in the Force’s functions and is therefore inspired that Government has seen it fit to add to its resources.