State Minister says ‘high level delegation’ at Venezuela’s border but vague on operations

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State Minister, Joseph Harmon on Thursday disclosed that steps are being taken by Government to secure communities located along the 800-kilometre border with Venezuela as a result of the unstable situation in that country.

State Minister, Joseph Harmon

“A very high level delegation has gone in there, commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel from the Guyana Defence Force, a Senior Superintendent from the Guyana Police Force and representatives from the Ministry of Natural resources. They’ve had specific briefings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that basically deals with matters in relation to the border and the need for them to exercise caution in dealing with these matters,” he told media operatives during Thursday’s Post Cabinet press briefing.

Harmon further noted that following the National Security Committee Level meeting last Tuesday, certain decisions were made as it relates to the President’s security policy “coming into action” at these frontier villages.

He also asserted that other actions that were taken have been discussed and approved at the level of Government and the Parliament Oversight Committee- which consists of Government officials, members of the Opposition and personnel from the National Assembly.

“…so that team led by Vice President [and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj] Ramjattan, went into the area, spoke to persons, spoke to the policemen, spoke to the citizens and so on and gave them certain assurances that whatever was taking place there was being addressed at the essential level of government,” the Minister explained.

Probed to elaborate on the day to day measures being employed by the Joint Forces, Harmon provided an extremely vague response.

“What I can say to you is that they are taking measures that gives the persons who actually operate in that river a certain level of security and assurance of their safety. I will not go into all of the things that they’re doing but certainly patrolling is a routine activity for the forces,” the State Minister said.

He also assured that the joint services have sufficient resources at their hand reach to carry out their duties.

“The discipline forces there, the police and the army; they have the resources at their disposal to be able to respond very quickly… The important thing is that we must get the reports to them as quickly as possible so that they can respond.”

In February of this year Opposition leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo said that he received information from a source that would suggest that there is a real threat to Guyana and its sovereignty from neighbouring Venezuela.

Jagdeo told a media conference that he felt that the Government is also aware of this potential treat and is urging the Administration to inform the Guyanese people, while noting that he doesn’t feel he should be the one to inform the nation about this issue. (Ramona Luthi)

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