Minister of State, Joseph Harmon is currently in Cancun, Mexico for the Thirteenth Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, which will conclude on October 10, 2018.
He is accompanied by Chief-of- Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Patrick West.
According to a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency, during the conference, Minister Harmon emphasised Guyana’s commitment to working with all States in the hemisphere while noting that there is need to ensure that the armed forces are geared towards providing humanitarian assistance to small and vulnerable States in addition to fulfilling their mandated functions.
Harmon also used the opportunity to reiterate Guyana’s commitment to the principles of democracy and human rights.
He said through Guyana’s participation at the Conference, there is now a better understanding of various areas including the evolving role of the army, the role of women in the armed forces, climate change and defence and best global practices on defence and security issues. This is an area Guyana takes seriously, he added.
According to its website, the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas is an international multilateral political forum directed and integrated by the Defense Ministers of the Americas, with authorization from the governments of their respective countries. The forum promotes mutual knowledge and exchange of ideas at the Ministers level in the scope of hemispheric defence and security.
Meanwhile, on the side lines of the Conference, Harmon met with the United States’ Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis. He also met with representatives of several member states of the Union of South America (UNASUR) including Uruguay, Ecuador and Bolivia.
During his meetings with the UNASUR representatives, Minister Harmon made it clear that Guyana wants to see UNASUR functioning in the best interest of its member states and Guyana is prepared to cooperate with the body whenever the need arises.