…GDF optimistic of armies standing against transnational security threats
By Jarryl Bryan
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has entered into an agreement with the United States (US) Department of Defense that can see Guyana benefitting from logistic support from the US, as well as supplies and equipment that will include military vehicles and ammunition.
The signing was done at State House on Tuesday, between GDF Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Godfrey Bess and US Admiral Craig S Faller. Admiral Faller, a decorated war veteran who heads the US Southern Command, is on a three-day visit to Guyana.
In his remarks after the signing, Faller explained what Guyana can expect from the agreement. He also noted that the visit and consequential agreement has been in the works for some time and builds on the increased collaboration between the US and Guyana.
“The acquisition and cross-servicing agreement is fundamentally about logistics. Basic things like parts, things you might need to fix your equipment, or food or fuel and our ability to trade goods and services while exercising or operating together,” Admiral Faller said.
“So what this does is it lays out that process or framework. So that when we do need to share food or basic things important to the military, we can do that very efficiently. So it sets the conditions for us to continue with our robust exercise programme and train together, things we have been doing and look forward to continuing in the future.”
A perusal of the agreement, which was seen by this publication, showed that the scope of this support includes oil and lubricants, clothing, medical services, spare parts and ammunition, as well as the use of facilities, ports and training services.
“The term also includes the temporary use of general-purpose vehicles and other non-lethal items of military equipment, where such lease or loan is permitted under the national laws and regulations of the Parties. The term “Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services” refers to support, supplies, or services from any or all of the foregoing categories,” the agreement says.
Meanwhile, Article III (2) of the agreement says that the provision of this logistical support from one military to another can be done in exchange for “Monetary Reimbursement, Replacement-In-Kind, or Equal-Value-Exchange of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services to the military forces of the Supplying Party.”
Brigadier General Bess in his remarks also welcomed the signing of the agreement. He was optimistic about the continued collaboration between the two armies against transnational security threats.
“These threats, if left unattended, can erode national security and undermine regional stability. The Guyana Defence Force, therefore, looks increasingly to defence cooperation as a means of improving the responsiveness to natural disaster and transnational criminal threats,” Bess said.
“Defence cooperation also enhances the professionalism of our military officers… the GDF is pleased to be a part of this agreement. The agreement allows for greater predictability in our defence partnership. It establishes a formal basis for the exchange of services between the militaries of Guyana and the US.”
Last year, Guyana had signed a ship rider agreement with the US which has since been operationalised with joint patrols in Guyana’s waters that currently focus on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Guyana’s Coast Guard has been working in collaboration with the US Coast Guard Cutter Stone, which is currently in the Region for a multi-country tour.
Tuesday’s agreement was signed just days after heightened tension over a decree issued by embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, unilaterally laying claim to Guyana’s territory.
This decree has been swiftly condemned by President Dr Irfaan Ali, Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon, the United States, the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (Caricom).