US military in Guyana to boost capability in response to security threats
– as Venezuelan Govt MP says, “We will not go to war with Guyana”
The top brass from the United States Army’s 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) have been engaged in talks since Monday, as a specialised unit of the US Army is currently in Guyana to conduct joint training exercises for the furtherance of a military alliance.
SFAB, which is a specialised unit of the US army that has assisted allies of the US in the past, arrived in Guyana this week. It is expected that they will conduct several joint training exercises with the GDF to strengthen its capacity and capability at the tactical and operational levels. This is particularly important considering the threat Guyana faces from Venezuela on the border.
According to a statement, during the talks, the two sides discussed upcoming engagements that will include strategic planning sessions and processes to enhance both countries’ military readiness and capabilities to respond to security threats.
The statement quoted the SFAB advisors as saying, “We are thankful for the opportunity to train with the Guyana Defence Force as our partners and friends. We look forward to deepening the partnership in the weeks and months to come.”
GDF Staff Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Pompey noted that the training opportunity would provide Guyana with invaluable opportunities to transfer knowledge and expertise. He expressed optimism regarding the positive impact the SFAB training would have on the GDF.
“The last iteration of US military training here in Guyana has been of tremendous benefit to the Medical Corps and the 4 Engineers Battalion. The transfer of knowledge and expertise from our US counterparts under the auspices of the SFAB has equipped our members with invaluable skills that are directly applicable to the dynamic nature of our modern security environment.
“As we witness the positive outcomes of this training, we are confident that the benefits will be enduring, impacting not only our Force’s operational capabilities but also the professional growth of individual members. The SFAB programme, with its focus on enhancing the capabilities of partner Forces, is a testament to the collaborative efforts between our nations,” Pompey said.
The US and Guyana enjoy a longstanding security partnership marked by strong collaboration between SOUTHCOM and the GDF that has historically been focused on disaster preparedness, humanitarian assistance, maritime security, human rights, professional development, defence and public security missions, and countering transnational crime.
It was only earlier this year that Guyana once again hosted Exercise Tradewinds, which saw over 1500 security force personnel from 20 nations participating. Since its establishment in 1984, the Tradewinds Exercise, organised by SOUTHCOM, has symbolised unity and collaboration in the face of security challenges.
“We will not go to war with Guyana”
Meanwhile, the Trinidad Guardian on Tuesday reported that at least one member of Venezuela’s Government is promising that they will maintain peace with neighbouring Guyana despite the ongoing dispute over the Essequibo region.
“We will not go to war! We will not invade a country, especially one we share a border with!” declared Venezuelan Member of Parliament Jacobo Torres.
Torres on Monday underscored Venezuela’s thrust to continue with peaceful dialogue with Guyana in the controversial territorial dispute, at a Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies panel discussion which focused on the ongoing controversy from a Venezuelan perspective.
On December 3, Venezuelans will go to the polls in a public referendum to tell their Government if they agree with Caracas’ position to incorporate the disputed Essequibo territory as part of Venezuela, rename the state Guyana Essequibo, and grant its population, currently Guyanese nationals, Venezuelan citizenship.
“We will not go to war!” Torres reiterated while adding “We will not fall into provocation, we are a people of dialogue, we are a peaceful people!”
Torres several times reiterated that war is “out of the question,” the Guardian reported.