GDF gets $414.2 million for Bell heavy-lift helicopter
– King Air 350 Beechcraft to be serviced
The National Assembly has approved $414.2 million in supplementary funding for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
The sum caters for the maintenance of the King Air 350 Beechcraft to increase aerial operational capacity and the training of four engineers, and for the purchase of one Bell heavy-lift helicopter.
Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance within the Office of the President, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh explained that in both instances, acquiring and engaging these two critical pieces of equipment are important to strengthening the operational capacity of the GDF. He said provisions were made for training of both engineers and pilots for the Beechcraft.
“Both engineering and pilot training are specific to aircraft type and so what we are providing here is specific training to the aircraft type… This is not training as is done by the Public Service Ministry, this is specific training for the aircraft type.”
Dr. Singh further explained that the engineers were identified by the leadership of the army Air Corps. The training will be done overseas and will focus on the maintenance and operation of the aircraft.
Meanwhile, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, $6.525 million spent to purchase 15 motorcycles for the Guyana Police Force (GPF) was approved. The motorcycles were sourced to boost the Force’s response to the upsurge in armed robberies during the festive season.
Minister Hon. Robeson Benn explained that the Honda motorcycles were distributed between the traffic and general patrol of the GPF in Region Four; Central Georgetown, East Bank and East Cast Demerara.
In response to a question posed by Opposition Member of Parliament, Hon. Shurwayne Holder, about the sudden need to purchase the vehicles, Minister Benn said the motorcycles within the Force were in a dilapidated state.
“It is a specific request from the Guyana Police Force and we are responding to that request,” he explained. The procurement of the motorcycles would help to advance the Government’s mission to provide the Force with the necessary equipment to ensure the nation’s safety.