GDF’s int’l partnerships at highest peak since establishment – Defence Chief

…cites importance of collaboration to create safer, more stable region

The Defence partnerships that Guyana enjoys with the rest of the world, are at their highest peak ever in the 59-year history of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), according to Chief of Defence, Brigadier Omar Khan.
The GDF’s capacity building efforts was on Tuesday highlighted by the Defence Chief, during the commissioning of the GDFS Shahoud. According to Khan, Guyana’s Defence partnerships with the international community have never been as extensive as they are today.

Senior military officials from the last Military Partners Day

“Notably, the acquisition of an asset does not guarantee its capability. We must continue to leverage the experiences and training offers from our partners across the region. This forms an integral part of enhancing our capacity and consolidating our capability.”
“And I must say, we have been doing just that, to the point where our existing partnerships are at their highest peak in the history of our Defence relations. Already for this acquisition, the United States through the office of the military liaison officer, has begun talks with us on training and spares for the GDFS Shahoud,” Khan said.
According to Khan, this has been facilitated through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative Platform. As such, he made it clear that the GDF was looking forward to continued discussions on the matter.
“Partnership is vital. And in this dynamic environment, we must continue to work and operate together, for a safer and stable region. And importantly, to vigorously promote shared values we hold so dear. For none of us is better than all of us,” he added.
The GDFS Shahoud was designed by Metal Sharks’ in-house engineering team and constructed at the company’s Franklin, Louisiana, production facility. It now joins the ranks of seven other Metal Shark vessels currently serving in the Coast Guard fleet. It is understood that ranks from the Coast Guard will have to undergo a period of training before the vessel is formally handed over and commissioned into service.
The Guyana Government has been heavily invested in boosting the country’s defensive capacity. In fact, a significant portion of the $1.146 trillion Budget 2024, from which the GDF alone received $42.2 billion, has gone towards building the technical capability and assets of the local security sector.
Efforts are already underway to procure four new helicopters that will not only be used by the GDF but also the Guyana Police Force. Back in October 2020, the US State Department had approved the sale of four helicopters and related equipment to Guyana to the tune of US$256 million.
Guyana enjoys military partnerships with a number of countries including the United States, through US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), France and Brazil. On Military Partners Day, where Guyana’s military collaboration was celebrated, these countries, as well as China, India, the United Kingdom, and Canada, were in attendance.
As part of the activity, several officers who had benefitted from training opportunities facilitated by these partnerships conducted presentations that acknowledged the diverse areas of training received.
The event also emphasised the collaborative endeavors undertaken by the GDF alongside its international partners. Representatives from each collaborating nation were present, fostering diplomatic ties and deepening the understanding of shared objectives.
Also in November, the leaderships of the United States Army’s 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) and the GDF had met as part of the United States and Guyana’s strong military-to-military partnership. The two military partners discussed upcoming engagements to include strategic planning sessions and processes to enhance both countries’ military readiness and capabilities to respond to security threats.
The U.S. and Guyana enjoy a longstanding security partnership, marked by strong collaboration between SOUTHCOM and the GDF, and focused on disaster preparedness, humanitarian assistance, maritime security, human rights, professional development, Defence and public-security missions, and countering transnational crime. (G3)