Deputy Assistant US Secretary of Defence in Guyana for two-day visit

Deputy Assistant US Secretary of Defence in Guyana for two-day visit

The U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for the Western Hemisphere, Daniel P. Erikson is currently in Guyana to advance bilateral defense and security partnership talks between Guyana and the US. 

In a statement, the US Embassy in Georgetown said Mr Erikson’s visit “underscores the continued importance the United States places on the U.S.-Guyana bilateral defense and security partnership in support of regional stability.”

Mr. Erikson is responsible for U.S. defense and security policy for the 34-nation region that encompasses Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South and Central America. 

During his two-day visit, which commenced today, Erikson is scheduled to meet with Government of Guyana officials, the top brass of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), and CARICOM officials to discuss the U.S. Defense and Security partnership with Guyana and regional partners. 

Weighing in on the visit by the high-level U.S official, President Irfaan Ali said the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence’s visit forms part of the Government’s plan to build robust military partnerships with its bilateral and multilateral partners. 

“I have made it very clear that we have a very robust partnership with the US and other partners, and the Guyana Defence Force is working ahead of pace in building out this relationship, building out this structure. We are going to have greater integration; we are going to have consolidation of our resources and we are going to have massive training opportunities and joint activities, as we work together in building capabilities and enhancing national and regional security,” President Ali said. 

The U.S. and Guyana have a longstanding security partnership marked by strong collaboration between SOUTHCOM and the GDF that is focused on disaster preparedness, humanitarian assistance, maritime security, human rights, professional development, defense and public-security missions, and countering transnational crime.

While the US Defence official is only in Guyana for two days, President Ali said the discussions will continue beyond his visit, not only with the US but other important partners. 

“This has been the subject of discussions with SOUTHCOM, with the UK, with France, with Canada, with the US, with RSS,” the President said.

According to the US Embassy, Mr. Erikson’s visit to Guyana is his first trip overseas in 2024.

According to the embassy, it is an indication of the high-level of importance attached to the bilateral defense and security partnership between the two countries, as the GDF continues to grow, in the short-term with robust military to military engagements, and in the long-term as the nation continues to modernize its defense institutions.

“The United States continues to work closely with its allies around the world to strengthen alliances and partnerships by improving interoperability, deepening information-sharing and planning, and conducting complex joint and combined exercises,” the US Embassy said. 

Guyana is also working with the United Kingdom as it develops its defence architecture.

Just recently, a military vessel, HMS Trent, was deployed to Guyana by the British Ministry of Defence to participate in joint military exercises. 

The vessel has been in the Caribbean region assisting with drug eradication exercises, but has since been reassigned to Guyana.

The move by the British Government, follows on its statement of support of Guyana following Venezuela’s recent acts of aggression and increased claims of Guyana’s Essequibo region.

Venezuela has objected to the visit by the British Navy vessel.

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