…must be more agile, efficient in response to domestic issues – President GrangerPresident David Granger has announced that the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) will, over the next few years, undergo massive restructuring and transformation to create a more agile, flexible and efficient organization; one that can respond to any form of domestic or international crisis.Granger, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has said the restructuringPresident David Granger (third from right in front row) at the conferenceprocess is important as it would allow for a greater level of efficiency in the execution of that military organisation’s mandate and development.He was addressing the opening ceremony of the two-day Annual Officers Conference which commenced on Thursday at Base Camp Ayanganna. Being held under the theme “Effective transformation for Total National Defence”, this conference has been boycotted by the media, whose members walked out of the conference as a result of the poor treatment meted out to the press corps.Changes will be made to the Engineering Corps, the President promised, with greater emphasis being placed on public infrastructure. The Agriculture Corps will focus on food production for the Force and victims of natural disasters; and the Signal Corps will be re-established as the main arm for the advancement of information and communications technologies and telecommunications within the Force.“Several corps of the Force are being reformed and recapitalised. The Agriculture Corps will embark on agro-processing in order to produce foods which can be preserved and packaged as compact rations for soldiers on long-range patrols and field operations, and as emergency supplies to citizens affected by natural disasters such as floods.“The Air Corps and Coast Guard will be upgraded to allow for continuous surveillance over our airspace, maritime space and land space, and to support search-and-rescue services to persons in distress.“The Engineering Corps will be restructured and re-equipped to enable it to re-engage in the development of public infrastructure and assist in disaster relief efforts in other countries affected by natural disasters. The Corps will expand the Force’s capability to generate electrical energy from renewable sources in all military bases and camps,” he said.President Granger declared that this was being done to allow for greater organisational and operational efficiency. He spoke last week about the re-establishment of the National Cadet Corps, which is also in keeping with the restructuring of the Force. He said cadet training centres will be built on a regional basis alongside Militia drill halls.“The corps will inculcate the five standards of service embodied in the Force’s Manual of Values and Standards, especially “…responsibility; respect for the law; respect for others; correct conduct; and appropriate social behaviour,” he said.Additionally, the President said the reinforcement of the Force’s high command has started with the restoration of the appointments of Adjutant General and Inspector General, among others.“The Force is being brought up to its authorised strength to allow it to be deployed to any part of the country in any weather or terrain, and at short notice. The ‘reserve force’ – the Guyana People’s Militia – is being re-built in every administrative region. The Militia is an essential arm of the regional system. Each regional capital town will have its own unit, eventually to enable (it) to respond more promptly to render assistance to residents in the event of emergencies.“The Force is the premier agency charged with responsibility to protect our homeland against the new security threats, such as environmental degradation, flooding, and drought,” he said.The Head of State has said the changes are in keeping with the Force’s responsibility to protect this country’s patrimony. The President noted it is recognised that the Force faces numerous challenges in safeguarding the national territory, including airspace, borders, marine resources and rivers; and as such, Government is working to ensure that these are addressed.President Granger has also said that Government, ever mindful of its duty to secure territorial integrity and sovereignty, has been engaged in various vigorous diplomatic initiatives over the past 32 months.“These efforts have been all aimed at reaching a peaceful resolution to the territorial controversy which arose out of the contention by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that the arbitral award of October 1899, by which Guyana’s borders were formally delimited under international law, was null. Guyana is still engaged in a renewed Good Offices Process, but we remain confident that the process will eventuate in a juridical settlement of this controversy – one that has stymied the development of our state since Independence.“The Force has embarked on a programme of long-range patrols aimed at re-affirming our national territorial borders from Punta Playa to the Kutari and from Ankoko to Orealla,” he said.The GDF Chief of Staff, Brigadier Patrick West, in his presentation, said that despite the challenges faced in 2017, the GDF remains resolute in its mandate. As the Force begins its planning for 2018, the Chief of Staff said, the Force will be moving to improve its capabilities and capacity for the continued security of Guyana’s borders and citizens.Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of State Mr. Joseph Harmon, Minister of Public Security Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan and Minister of Finance Mr. Winston Jordan were also present at the opening ceremony.
– during Camp Street uproarPrisoners housed at the Camp Street Prison on Tuesday morning caused uproar at the penitentiary, demanding steak for breakfast.Reports are prison officials had to intervene after the inmates, comprising of those who recently escaped and were recaptured, began behaving disorderly while demanding steak instead of porridge for breakfast.The Camp Street PrisonDirector of Prisons Gladwin Samuels when contacted said t the situation at the prison was under control. “The escapees wanted steak for breakfast and it was not available,” he told this publication.In July, prisoners set fire to the penitentiary, raising the Camp Street facility to the ground, killing one prison officer in the escape bid. During the incident six prisoners escaped. The fire displaced over 1000 prisoners.