Domination of our national territory cannot be taken for granted – Pres. Granger

GDF must continue to fight transnational crimes

Frontline villages are guardians of our territory 

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 24, 2019

President and Commander in Chief, David Granger today made it clear that domination of our national territory cannot be taken for granted. President Granger was at the time addressing Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Officers at its Annual Officers’ Conference held at State House.

The Conference is being held under the theme “Effective Transformation for Total and National Defence”,

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan and Chief of Staff, Brigadier Patrick West were also in attendance.

It was highlighted by the President that both neighbouring countries, Venezuela and Suriname, continue to lay claim to parts of Guyana despite Guyana’s position being backed by the International Community. President Granger said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made it clear that Guyana has a right to defend its sovereignty and will continue to do so.

Guyana, he said, remains committed to letting the Caribbean and the continent of South America remain a zone of peace, subscribes to the peaceful settlement of disputes and will not compromise international peace. However, it was pointed out that illegal activities continue to take place on Guyana’s territory by its neighbouring countries.

“Citizens have been killed, communities, particularly those on our frontier villages, must be made safe from transnational crime. The persistence of transnational crime alerts us to the need for continued vigilance to protect our air space, land borders, coastline and territorial sea,” the President said.

He further called on the GDF Officers to always be in a state of readiness to ensure that Guyana is secured.

“The Defence Force, therefore, must maintain itself in a state of readiness to secure our entire country and protect it from present and future dangers. The Defence Act charges the Defence Force with the defence of Guyana. The force, therefore, is obligated to secure the state and safeguard the entire country from invasion, incursion and insurrection. Incursions must be deterred, insurrections must be suppressed and the state must remain secure” the Head of State emphasized.

He told the Officers that the Defence Policy is aimed at ensuring that national defence is comprehensive, covering air, land and sea. The GDF, the President said, was never intended to be a coastal force adding that it is and will remain a comprehensive national force.

“Frontline villages are guardians of our national territory and patrimony. They are our first line of defence against any attempt to incursion. They are the eyes and ears which can alert the defence and police forces to hostile actions which threaten public security and national defence.”

The GDF, he said, must continue to work along with frontline villages to ensure human safety and national security as outlined in the Frontline Village Policy. Operation Armadillo, which was launched last year in response to threats by criminal gangs on Guyana’s borders, has resulted in the reduction of assault reports by the Syndicato gang and reinforced border security.

President Granger said that the government has deployed diplomacy and resources successfully to denounce acts of aggression against its territory. The government has also mobilized international support and is anxious for the territorial controversy with Venezuela to be resolved through a peaceful juridical process.

President Granger said that the matter is currently at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and that the government is confident that the court will rule in its favour and bring an end to the decades-old controversy. 

Isaiah Braithwaite.

Images: Keno George.