Shiprider Agreement provides training opportunities for local military

Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Godfrey Bess has welcomed the operationalisation of the Shiprider Agreement between Guyana and the United States (US), which will allow US assets to patrol local waters with Guyanese support to combat illicit activities.

Brigadier Bess said this extends the Force’s surveillance and provides an opportunity for additional training for senior ratings and officers as they conduct exercises with the US military.

The Agreement, which was signed in 2001, was followed by an exchange of diplomatic notes during US Secretary of State, Mr. Michael Pompeo’s official two-day visit to Guyana recently. The Agreement came into force on September 21.

Meanwhile, National Security Advisor to the President, Captain Gerry Gouveia has hailed the Agreement as a boon to maritime security in Guyana’s waters.

Captain Gouveia, during an interview with DPI said the Agreement was significant as it would help safeguard Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

“I think the US coming on to us at this time, signing this Agreement gives us an enormous new capability to be able to have an overview of our Exclusive Economic Zone and security of the rigs on the high seas and also, our borders with Suriname, Venezuela and Brazil,” Captain Gouveia said.  

He echoed the Army Chief’s sentiments on the possibilities for training.

“This is very timely. It also gives our own Guyanese military officers a great opportunity to sit alongside and inside US high technology ships and planes, as they attempt to do surveillance of our air space, landmass and Exclusive Economic Zone. There will be training for military too. It is exceptionally significant and I believe all of us should breathe a sigh of relief,” the Security Advisor said.

According to the US State Department, the Shiprider Agreement aims to close the gap of global maritime law enforcement; improve co-operation, coordination, inter-operability; and build maritime law enforcement capacity to more effectively combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and other illegal activity.

The US Coast Guard regularly exercises 16 bilateral fisheries law enforcement Shiprider Agreements with countries in the Eastern Pacific, West Africa, Jamaica, and Barbados.

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