Some proposals for defending our territorial assets
March 8, 2004
I refer to a letter captioned "Our coastguard should be urgently upgraded" (3.3.2004) by Mr. Aubrey Williams. Perhaps Mr. Williams might have indicated from what military background he is coming since he appears to have limited his input to just the present and future maritime asset management capabilities of the GDF's Coast Guard.
Although I may not be one of those initiated "in the rudimentary principles of maritime asset management", common sense and my basic training and instinct tell me that there should be a multi-faceted approach to the "situations" with which Guyana has been faced in the distant and not so recent past, and may very well face in the near and distant future given the intent of its so-called neighbours. The old adage of "if a nation is prepared to live in peace, then it must be prepared to go to war" must be seen in Guyana's context.
I beg to differ from Mr. Williams in this sense - what makes him think that Guyana's maritime resources are the only "assets" that have been under threat and may very well be in the future; if so, why was some of Guy-ana's most courageous led by the likes of our former Col. Desmond Roberts (Rt..) and others pressed into action in the New River Triangle in the past to defend other Guyana's assets. This said it will behoove those that have been placed in a position of trust (both Government and Opposition) with regards to Guyana's territorial integrity and economic future to carefully consider strategies that will encompass an all-round approach to the country's situations. These can be as follows:
1. The continuing development and establishment of a diplomatic machinery second to none.
2. The continuation of the fostering of scientific, technical (particularly in information and communications technology) and economic relationships with friendly countries around the world.
3. Any Guyana Govern-ment in office must ensure an equitable distribution of land to its citizenry (free or at a reasonable cost) with an emphasis on sustainable food and agricultural production.
4. Honour the commitment given by Guyana's late illustrious Leader - L.F.S. Burn-ham; also, Former President, Ms Janet Jagan to award free titles to former members of the GDF who have given the requisite years of service to the country, consideration given to the re-establishment of the Guyana National Service and Guyana People's Militia as separate disciplinary services arms of the Government; also, the creation of a joint operations centre and making available resources for the training and deployment of forces (SEAL Teams) in special operations.
5. Within the framework of a sound economy in place consideration must be given to the acquisition of the much needed military assets for sea, air and land and the manpower so trained to be able to defend Guyana's territorial integrity and its constitutional rights.
6. Guyana should consider making available to members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, England and Canada - in fact all NATO Member countries, increased uses of its training facilities at places like its Jungle and Amphibious Training Facilities and the "Tacama" Battle School. Also, consider facilitating the training of US armed services personnel due to the loss of training facilities in Puerto Rico.
7. Guyana should consider an arrangement with the United States for the transfer (as gifts) of unused assets like the "Crusader" or enter arrangements with countries such as China for the transfer of technologies for the design and development of land based assets like the - Silk Worm. These can result in a better management of Guyana's resources.
Over to you Mr. Williams and powers that be within the Guyana Government Administration.
(Name and address supplied)