Govt will “look after him for the rest of his life” – PM tells family of soldier injured in fireworks explosion

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Prime Minister Brigadier Mark Phillips along with the injured soldier Sergeant Gordon Cornette and his family 

Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips on Tuesday visited injured soldier Sergeant Gordon Cornette, who was injured in February, during preparations for the Guyana’s Republic anniversary fireworks display.

During the visit to the injured officer’s Clonbrook, East Coast Demerara home the Prime Minister promised that the State would continue to take care of his medical treatment and welfare.

On February 22, Sergeant Cornette suffered burns to his hands and face during an explosion while on duty at the Guyana Defence Force, Coast Guard base in Ruimveldt, Georgetown.

In meeting with the Cornette’s family, the Prime Minister assured the soldier and his family that the Government has the welfare of all its service men and women at heart, and “whatever specialist help he needs to recover, he would get it”.

“GDF and the State of Guyana will look after him for the rest of his life…I spent 36 years in the GDF and I myself was responsible for the care of people who got injured and the families of people who got injured,” the Prime Minister explained.

The soldier’s sister, Anya Cornette, expressed her gratitude to the Prime Minister for sitting with the family.

“This was much appreciated, you taking time out of your busy schedule to visit and listen…it was in the press that the army will visit and you showed up, so it will show that you kept your promise, I just want to encourage you to continue putting your best foot forward,” she said.

Similar sentiments were shared by father of the soldier Gordon Cornette (Snr.).

Also present during the visit with the family, was Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Godfrey Bess, Medical Officer, Guyana Defence Force, Major Nigel Langhorne and other representatives of the GDF.

Reports in February are that explosives were being prepared for the fireworks display to usher in Guyana’s 50th Republic Day celebrations when the explosion occurred.

According to persons living in the area, they heard a loud explosion but assumed it was an electrical issue. However, they heard screams and shouts from within the Coast Guard base which prompted persons to rush out.

It was then that they saw several injured army ranks in the water and others were being placed into vehicles.

Following that incident, 31-year-old Corporal Seon Rose of Friendship, East Coast Demerara, who sustained third-degree burns about his body died, while Sergeant Gordon Cornette along with Terrence Neils, Isiah Gordon, Trevon Joseph, Andrew Garnette, Victor Low, Atto Cort and Delroy Baird were severely burnt.