Georgetown, Guyana – (December 9, 2016) President David Granger, earlier today, told the ranks of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) at Base Everard, Mabaruma, that while their primary role is defence of the country’s territorial integrity, they must also play a role in the country’s development, through cooperation with local residents in the areas in which they are posted. In turn the President also called on residents of Barima-Waini to answer the call to join the militia to help strengthen the force.
Addressing the ranks at their annual Christmas lunch, in the presence of the Regional Chairman, Mr. Brentnol Ashley, Regional Executive Officer, Mr. Leslie Wilburg, Mayor of Mabaruma, Mr. Henry Smith and other regional officials and residents of surrounding communities, the President said that he was particularly happy to see soldiers, civilians and policemen gathered together since it is a demonstration of togetherness and solidarity in the protection of the country’s sovereignty and ensuring its development.
“I expect that there will be no more recurrences of unfriendly relations between persons in uniform and persons out of uniform. I will deal with any misbehaviour that occurs, because it is not our policy to have bad relations with Guyanese citizens. The GDF is responsible for double tasks… You are responsible for defence but are also responsible for development. You must see how the people live and to find out what their needs are,” the President said.
Commander of the Armed Forces, President David Granger serving lunch to the ranks stationed at the Guyana Defence Force’s Base Everard at their Annual Christmas Lunch held today.
Referencing the claims, which are being made by neighbouring Venezuela on Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the President said that cordial and friendly relations between the servicemen and the citizens are important if the country is to stand in solidarity and fight against any transgressions. As such, they must come together and be eternally vigilant as the country continues to pursue a final and just settlement.
“This Government… is committed to maintaining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country and just as we inherited a country from our forefathers we want to pass this country on to our descendants. But the price we must pay is eternal vigilance… and the GDF and the GPF [Guyana Police Force] are here at what we call the northern most town in Guyana, in order to demonstrate that we are eternally vigilant and that we are going to protect the people, who cannot protect themselves; the citizens of Georgetown and the other towns of Guyana. It is our obligation and responsibility to ensure that they can live in safety while the soldiers and policemen put their lives on the line in order to protect and safe guard them,” the President said.
Pointing to the porous nature of Guyana’s borders, the Commander in Chief said that the GDF is responsible for security in those regions but said that citizens can bolster the strength of the Force by joining the militia.
President Granger seemed delighted to meet this toddler, who was present at the Luncheon today.
“We are a small population and we are a small Defence Force and a small Police Force. Taken as a whole we have to accept responsibility for over 3000km of borders. The Force cannot do that alone and that is why we are bringing back into existence a strong Militia, the Guyana People’s Militia (GPM) and I would like to encourage you the residents of Mabaruma and Barima-Waini Region to become involved, to join the Militia. Not because we are expecting a war but because we want to demonstrate that we are ready for any operation. I call on the Regional Chairman to join with the Defence Force to encourage participation in the GPM so if there is any form of emergency; sometimes there is flooding or some other situation… you will always have a body of people who are able to respond,” the President explained.
The President added that with Mabaruma’s township status will bode well for the development of the region and will help to ensure that problems of infrastructure and security are more adequately addressed.
President Granger addressing the ranks and residents at the Guyana Defence Force’s Base Everard Annual Christmas Lunch.
The President also used the opportunity to express gratitude to the servicemen for their commitment and dedication during that past year, noting that Guyana is grateful. “You all will be working over the Christmas and New Year period, but this work is necessary so your families and the families of all other Guyanese will have a good Christmas. Let me close by wishing you a happy Christmas and I hope that your wives and children… would have a happy Christmas and may god bless you all,” he said.
After delivering his address, the President served lunch to the ranks and residents, who were invited to be a part of the festivities on the base.