By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Mark Phillips has affirmed that the military strength at the Cuyuni Border shared with Venezuela is enough to carry out its mandate of defining acts of aggression against Guyana’s sovereignty.
Phillips told the media on Friday, September 25 that despite no additional troops being deployed, the amount present at the border is sufficient to defend Guyana.
This comes on the heels of an “extraordinary” buildup of Venezuela military forces on that side of the border, in line with a recent claim made by Venezuela on two thirds of Guyana’s territory.
“We wouldn’t give you the strength. We have adequate amount of troops to fulfill our objective but we would not give out our strength,” said Phillips.
The Chief of Staff also reported that there has not been an increase of Venezuela’s military presence.
“We are still monitoring…there is no evidence of any increase on the Venezuelan side,” said the Army Chief.
On Friday, the GDF carried out a countrywide battle muster at its bases across Guyana where the troops were briefed on the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy and what government’s view on the issue is.
“Throughout the GDF, troops at all of our bases have been sensitized about the activities at the Venezuelan border. As I said, we are ready to define aggression. Our task is to define aggression on the settled border between Guyana and Venezuela,” said Phillips.
The battle muster included paratroopers and Special Forces from the GDF.
Over at base camp Stephenson where a similar muster was held, the soldiers made it clear that they were ready for war only to be reminded by Phillips that the likelihood of a war is low. But the Chief of Staff was pellucid that the officers should be ready to define aggression.
“We have a settled border. In the year 1899, that border was settled. So as far as I am concerned, as far as you are concerned have a settled border…we all remain ready – operationally ready to define aggression on our frontiers,” said Phillips.
GDF will continue its exercises in the coming weeks and will include a march through the streets of Georgetown scheduled for Saturday, September 26.