House approves over $400M spent on Exercise Greenheart

Georgetown, GINA, June 30, 2016

The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) expended an additional $410M in 2015 to conduct Exercise Greenheart which was aimed at testing the preparedness of the force and its officers.

This sum was approved by the National Assembly this evening when Finance Minister Winston Jordan presented Financial Paper No. 3/2015, the Supplementary Estimates (Current and Capital) totaling $799,897,637.

During the deliberations when the Assembly was resolved into the Committee of Supply, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, who responded to questions from Opposition Member and former Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, explained that the exercise was a national one as the government sees the defence of Guyana as a national issue and one that involves all Guyanese.

“Whatever resources this House could allocate, it should .. offer,” Harmon said. The Financial Paper sought $120M for the purchase of kit and equipment for soldiers participating in the exercise and payment for medical services for officers and ranks.

Defending this allocation, Minister Harmon stated that during such exercises as Greenheart, there were increases in the purchase of medical services, provision of medical tents and provisions were made for soldiers who are injured during the exercise. The Minister of State further said that during such operations, the general rule requires that 10 percent of the number of ranks on the exercise is catered for in event of injuries.

The House was informed that another $120M was sought for the hiring of aircrafts as the Y12 and Skyvan aircraft were inoperable at the time, thus additional funding was necessary to hire air, sea and land transportation in support of the exercise to attain expected results.

Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, questioned the Minister of State on the need for the additional $60M which was spent to ensure maximum serviceability for operational readiness of the GDF’s fleet of vehicles. Minister Harmon explained this was necessary since it was critical to make the vehicles capable of carrying out a successful exercise.

Another $10M was spent for security lighting at the training area and maintenance of a swimming pool located at Camp Stephenson, Timehri for the training of officers and ranks.