GDF taps into emergency funds for “Exercise Greenheart”
AG report 2015
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) last year hosted a one week ‘Exercise Greenheart’ which was funded using the nation’s emergency fund – the Contingency Fund – an activity that has been cited by the Auditor General since the money was in fact used to purchase beverages, broiler chicks and uniforms – items for which the monies were not granted.
These are among the findings of the Auditor General, Deodat Sharma, in his audit of the national accounts for 2015.
According to the Auditor General, during 2015, the GDF benefited from five advances in the sum of $410 million, received from the Contingency Fund during the year and amounts totalling $409.8 million were expended.
Sharma has since found however, that amounts totalling $113.2 million were expended on the purchase of items which were not included in the purpose of the advance, such as the purchase of beverage, utensils, ledger, broiler chicks, swine starter, broiler grower and sewing of uniforms.
The GDF has since responded saying that the items purchased were utilised for Exercise Greenheart, but Sharma has since recommended that the Defence Force utilised funds in respect of Contingency Fund Advances for the purpose they were granted.
The $400 million was approved in June of this year when Finance Minister Winston Jordan supplied the House with financial papers to cover the advances that had been made the previous year for the GDF’s exercise.
During those deliberations, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said the exercise was a national one as the Government sees the defence of Guyana as a national issue and one that involves all Guyanese.
“Whatever resources this House could allocate, it should,” Harmon said at the time.
The Financial Paper sought $120 million for the purchase of kits and equipment for soldiers participating in the exercise and payment for medical services for officers and ranks.
Defending this allocation, Minister Harmon stated at the time that during the exercises, there were increases in the purchase of medical services, provision of medical tents and provisions were made for soldiers who are injured during the exercise.
The Minister of State further said that during such operations, the general rule requires that 10 per cent of the number of ranks on the exercise is catered for in event of injuries.
The House was informed too that another $120 million was sought for the hiring of aircraft as the Y12 and Skyvan aircraft were inoperable at the time, thus additional funding was necessary to hire air, sea and land transportation in support of the exercise to attain expected results.
According to the Audit, $120 million was allocated from the emergency fund for the purchase of kits and equipment for Exercise Greenheart and continued payment for medical services for our officers and ranks and a total of $119 million was in fact utilised.
The Auditor found too that $99 million of the $100 million received by the GDF was in fact used for dietary supplies to provide adequate feeding of troops for routine and Exercise Greenheart for strength increase.
The report also documents that during the one week exercise, $119 million was spent as payment to contractors for the rental of air, sea and land transportation, while another $59.9 million was expended on “repairs and maintenance of vehicles for continued mobility of the Force.”
The GDF also utilised another $9.9 millionit had received from the emergency fund as “Payment for security light for training area and maintenance of pool for training of officers and ranks.”
Conducted over a period of one week, the exercise, designed as a tactical Close Country warfare training, saw the GDF troops, operating in two Battalions and a Support Company, negotiate their way through dense jungle to achieve their objectives.
One Battalion (the friendlies), commanded by Major Raul Jerrick, inserted themselves into the jungle and advanced tactically with the aim of over running and capturing the Two Battalion (enemy), commanded by Captain Paul Singh.
The “Final Battle” was the simulation of a stealthy, coordinated and well-executed attack, which achieved its objective.
Commander-in-Chief, President, Brigadier (retired) David Granger and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, witnessed the “Final Battle”.
Following the “Final Battle” at the airstrip, the troops massed and marched through the streets of the Bartica township where they were enthusiastically received and showered with praises by thousands of residents, including hundreds of school children who had turned out to see and cheer their brave men and women in uniform.