Several measures already instituted to boost Hinterland aerial surveillance, more coming on stream as GCAA leads investigation – Minister Harmon

DPI, Guyana, Friday, August 18, 2017

Several measures have already been put in place to enhance hinterland aerial surveillance prior to the most recent discovery of the suspected Brazilian registered aircraft in the Rupununi Savannah. This was revealed by Minister of State Joseph Harmon, at the weekly Post Cabinet press briefing held at the National Communications Network on Friday August 18.

Minister Harmon said that following a similar prior incident where an abandoned plane was found at the Yupukari Airstrip, Central Rupununi, Region Nine and subsequent Commission of Inquiry by former GDF Chief of Staff, Edward Collins, government has acted on several recommendations submitted.

Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon.

He added that the recommendations made were grouped into immediate, short term and long term. The immediate action taken saw an increased Guyana Police Force Command and the reactivation of the Regional Intelligence Committee; comprising GDF and Guyana Police Force officers, Regional Authorities, Toshaos and other regional officials who meet fortnightly to assess and share information, which is then filtered to the National Security Committee chaired by President David Granger.

Increased patrols were also established with ranks moving between “firm bases”, the minister explained. The area between those firm bases will be covered by vehicle patrols and in some cases horse patrols.” Long term measures will see areas being covered by drones and manned aircraft. He noted that the terrain of the Rupununi, which consists of mainly flat open spaces and isolated communities, makes it easy to construct a “make-shift airstrip at very short notice.”

The government’s concentrated investigations into the landing of a Beechcraft suspected to be from Brazil is continuing with Guyana Civil Aviation Authorities (GCAA) spearheading efforts. Minister Harmon further added, that the investigation will determine several issues such as the origin of the aircraft, the fate of the crew members who abandoned the aircraft and the reasons for its landing without permission on a make shift runway, some ten miles, from the outskirts of the Sante Fe- mega farm.

The executive type aircraft has since been flown to CJIA Timehri where it is under heavy security. Several additional measures, the Minister said are being put in place to reduce similar incidences from occurring in the future.

Assistance is also being sought from bi-lateral and multi-lateral agencies as government moves to improve aerial surveillance of border and hinterland areas.

 

By: Paul McAdam

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