The Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips, has declared that although 2015 was a year full of challenges for the military here in Guyana, it was also a very successful year.
Speaking at an end of year press conference at GDF Headquarter, Camp Ayanganna, Brigadier Phillips said the army has several plans in train to ensure it becomes even more efficient and better able to serve its mandate.
He said the GDF is looking to beef up its Coast Guard with the acquisition of new equipment including a new patrol vessel similar to the current GDFS Essequibo. He said this will lead to more monitoring of Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone and offshore Guyana.
The President has made clear his intention to recapitalize the Guyana Defence Force as part of a five year plan. The plan is already being put into motion, according to the Chief of Staff.
“As part of the recapitalization is the Coast Guard, increasing the assets for the Coast Guard to have under surveillance our EEZ. Its quite a huge area to safeguard and that’s the role of the Coast Guard and so its imperative that the Coast Guard be recapitalized”, Brigadier Phillips said.
Guyana has been looking to boost its military might especially in wake of the ongoing threats from neighbouring Venezuela.
The western neighbour has been claiming not just Guyana’s Essequibo region but also part of its maritime area which is oil rich
The Coast Guard of the Guyana Defence Force is expected to play a key role in ensuring assets in the areas are safe and well protected.
US Company Exxon Mobil has been carrying out exploration works just off shore Guyana and has discovered oil in the area. Drilling could start within the next few months.
Brigadier Phillips said there simply must be more patrol of Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone to just pay attention to oil drilling but to also tackle illegal fishing and trafficking on the high seas.