Georgetown, Guyana (March 13, 2021) His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali said that the arrival of the new Bell 412 EPI helicopter will not only add to the capacity of the Guyana Defence Force, but that it signals a new era of training and development.
The Head of State made this pronouncement this afternoon during his address at the arrival ceremony of the Guyana Defense Force’s newest aircraft acquisition.
“I’m very pleased today to be part of this programme. First of all, let me thank those of our friends from Bell, and our local team for safely and successfully bringing home this new asset of the Guyana Defence Force…. This asset did not happen accidentally, we have been investing continuously in the training, upgrading, and development of human assets. With this acquisition, comes a new era of training and an upgraded era of development.”
President Ali noted that the latest addition also brings with it new potential and new capacity within the GDF. He pointed to the importance of the investments made in building the human capacity within the Force.
“We have spent a lot of resources in upgrading our human resources to take care of these assets and to ensure that we move towards a modern pool of capital acquisition that will improve our efficiency and enhance our national security.”
The President announced that a team will be deployed on Monday to inspect the performance of the Coast Guard’s vessels with the aim of moving towards the acquisition of new hardware to support and bolster their performance.
“So this is the beginning of a new trend. Long before we get to the end of this year, we will see new assets acquired for our coast guard. We have to analyse the new requirements of our security sector based on our development path.”
The President said that a modern, forward-looking security architecture is integral to the protection of our growing economy and our economic resources.
He expressed appreciation to the United States as a “trusted” development partner.
“We are very pleased with our strategic partner in the US…. And these are all the new relationships that we felt that are essential in building stronger defense architecture. We realise, and we know that our defense architecture has to be supported by the best diplomacy and the greatest of partnership.”
The President pointed to Guyana’s relationship with Bell, who has pledged to lend support in future development plans. He also expressed confidence in the “greatest capability” of the Air Corps maintaining the new helicopter.
In closing, the Commander-in-Chief said that all Guyanese should be proud that we are a step closer to giving our army the tools needed to become more effective, more proactive, and more efficient in their jobs.
He noted that the constraints of the GDF must be understood by the population for them to have a greater appreciation of the acquisition and similar procurement in the future.
“I ask our fellow Guyanese, who are the greatest partners in our development and security, to continue to support the work of the Guyana Defence Force and to ensure that we all work in a collective way to keep our country safe, to protect our borders. Without a doubt, with love for the country and love for each other, there is nothing that could dent our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Following the official part of the programme, President Ali boarded the helicopter for its inaugural flight around Georgetown.
Along with the President, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, the Honourable Dr Ashni Singh, Minister of Home Affairs, the Honourable Robeson Benn, Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, Lt. Col. (Ret’d) Egbert Field, National Security Adviser to the President, Captain Gerry Gouveia, United States Ambassador to Guyana, Ms Sarah-Ann Lynch and senior officers of the GDF and Guyana Police Force were also at the ceremony.