Statement by Prime Minister, Hon. Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Anthony Phillips

I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the fallen soldiers, as well as the Guyana Defence Force on the loss of their comrades, offering my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

As a nation, our hearts are heavy with grief upon learning about the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of five brave soldiers – of Brigadier Gary Beaton- Project Engineer, GOG; Colonel Michael Shahoud- Commander 1st Infantry Battalion; Lieutenant Colonel Michael Charles- Pilot; Lieutenant Colonel Sean Welcome- Commanding Officer Reserve Battalion; and Staff Sergeant Jason Khan- 31 Special Forces Squadron – on December 6, 2023.

To Lieutenant Andio Michael Crawford and Corporal, Dwayne Jackson, I extend my fervent wishes for your swift and complete recovery, and express sincere sympathy for the loss of your comrades and friends. I assure you the courage and dedication of these soldiers will be remembered with the utmost respect and gratitude.

In the wake of the devastating news, I also extend condolences to the Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan, and the entire Guyana Defence Force community. As we mourn this tragic loss, we stand in solidarity with the GDF, sharing in the pain of their grief. Our thoughts are with the leadership and colleagues of the fallen soldiers during this incredibly difficult time. May the Guyana Defence Force find strength, unity, and solace in the memories of these heroes, and may their legacy endure as a symbol of valor within the force.

May the memories of the fallen soldiers be a source of strength and inspiration as we navigate through this profound sorrow.