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Guyana People’s Militia re-established

Commandant of the Guyana People's Militia, Colonel Patrick West.

Commandant of the Guyana People’s Militia, Colonel Patrick West.

Eighteen years after it was disestablished by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-led administration, the Guyana People’s Militia (GPM) has been re-activated and hopes to recruit an additional 1,500 persons as reserves.

Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips has announced that the GPM has been re-established with effect December 1, 2015 in keeping with the defence policy of the six- month old civilian administration.

“These are not full-time, these are part-time soldiers. The whole concept is to have a small regular army and a larger reserve that could augment the regular army,” he said.

Phillips explained the advantage of having the GPM as a separate entity rather than being part of the GDF as the 2nd Infantry Battalion since August, 1997. “They will have a separate budget and a separate organizational structure, greater involvement at the regional and community levels in defence and security activities, not to mention training and employment activities,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

The Commandant of the GPM is Colonel Patrick West who is previously Commanding Officer, 2nd Infantry Battalion (Reserve). “His task outlined is to start building the Reserve, building the Militia,” said Phillips.

The Chief of Staff said several drill halls countrywide would be rehabilitated and Regional Companies would be strengthened through recruitment and the provision of more leadership training for officers and senior non-commissioned officers. “We have not done any major or sustained maintenance of basically all the infrastructures in the different regions and it is our intention to start focusing on that in 2016. We are not going to achieve everything in 2016 but we are going to start in 2016,” he said.

Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips.

Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips.

The GPM was established in 1976 in accordance with the Defence Act at a time when the country had been facing internal and security threats.

Writing in the Guyana Review in November 2008,  Retired Brigadier David Granger had said that the Militia during its 20-year existence had proven to be a vital component of the defence system that allowed citizens to contribute to national security on a part-time basis without making a full-time commitment to military service. With the loss of autonomy and the depletion in its strength, however, the esprit de corps that was nourished for two decades dissipated.

He had said that many of the Militia’s inherent advantages were lost. Regions without reservists, for example, could no longer assist the regular force to secure porous borders and coastlines or provide organised labour in the event of natural disasters such as floods and other environmental hazards. Most of all, the social capital amassed by the morale and zeal that once motivated ordinary citizens to serve as soldiers and to sacrifice their leisure time to make their country safer seems to have been squandered.

With regards to the GDF, the Chief of Staff said additional persons are being trained as soldiers to deal with attrition due to resignations and retirement so that the army remains at the authorized strength.

An estimated 1,000 persons have been recruited in 2014 and 2015.  Phillips said a number of the 55 persons who went Absent Without Leave (AWOL) have been taking steps to return to duty.

Government also expects to boost the GDF’s Engineer Corps to be involved in infrastructural development in the hinterland.

The GDF also intends to acquire  more aircraft and patrol vessels during the next four years.

  • ExPPP_Man

    Burnham has returned. Police state re-established.

    • Emile_Mervin

      Burnham returned when Jagdeo became President. Only difference is that while Burnham grabbed political power, Jagdeo grabbed political and financial and economic power.

      Jagdeo was worse than Burnham, because over 200 Guyanese were never killed in Guyana in any politically inspired crime spree.

      • Fedup

        Burnham grab all de money that Guyana had not only political power.
        he was the richest man in the Caribbean and Guyana was straving.
        I know because since PPP take over I was able to own my home and have a regular job.could not do that in Burnham days.
        PPP is not the best but at least they did FAR better than PNC.
        anyone who deny that needs a brain scan cause their insane.

        • long_legs

          you are the flippin’ insane one here and a brain scan will benefit you tremendously!

          if burnham was the richest man in the caribbean where has all the money gone and why is it that his children are all living modest lives, nowhere close to what the ramotar children are living – given their measly background?

          open you stupid mouth and show where any of burnham’s children are living the pradoville lifestyle as the ppp crooks and their relatives.

          ©™

          • Fedup

            You need to pull ur head out of the sand. Go check his Swiss account. They can’t get it that’s y the live like this now. You people are so racis. You want people to believe that burnham did good for this country but he Robb this country and run away the people from this country.

          • Gtloyal

            More people left Guyana after PPP came in to power. Wonder why?
            Now why would the swiss block an account? Because you asked then to? If there was such an account why didn’t Cheddi recover it. Maybe because he had been paid off? He was Forbes best friend. Both were PPP together. Yes friend, Forbes was PPP, that’s why you like it so much. stupe.
            Where ignorance is bliss….

            http://www.guyanagraphic.com/sites/default/files/images/forbes_cheddie.jpg

          • Fedup

            What a fool. If I have a Swiss account can u block it or recover it. What an idiot. It’s no use replying to an idiot.

          • Gtloyal

            Who really are you angry with? Why? Funny.

  • Dave Persaud

    Just like old time. Next coming is the underground economy. Y’all better start making preparation. I man moving to Crabwood Creek.

    • KassemB

      ‘I am moving to Crabwood Creek.’
      Dem Crab will eat you out

  • raj ramsingh

    the dictatorship is here. party paramount to state. all of burnham doings is back again. brace yourself for devaluation and starvation. spending without earnings. god help us.

    • Emile_Mervin

      God helps those who try to help themselves. If you live in Guyana and you think dictatorship is coming back (although it never really left, thanks to the constitution), you should make a run for greener pastures.

      See, even if the PPP gets back in power, it won’t be any different, because Jagdeo already showed his true intentions while in power and then by getting Chang to reverse the law that now allows Jagdeo to become ‘king’ again. Dictakers#!+ or dictatorship, same difference!

      By the way, notice how Jagdeo’s best friend, Barbie Doll, has now acquired INews? The goal is to block the blogs that are critical of Jagdeo and the PPP. The Boy is actually the owner of what Barbie is managing.

      • Partap Prasad

        Where the going to get the guns that the Army thieves and sold .

        • long_legs

          they are going to get the guns, communication equipment and other military / para-military styled gears from the very same place where roger khan got his stash from.

          …and it is plain stupidity to bring up the issue about army stealing and selling guns because, the sensible guyanese people will tell you that it is good that the morally and ethically bankrupt ppp former government has been kicked to the curb since; for over two long decades in power it failed to bring a conviction on any single general or soldiers for illegally dealing in arms.

          keep a’yuh nancy stories to talk at bottom-house symposiums when it is getting near to election because, is this kind of nonsense you put out here that the ppp has to run on and nothing else!

          ©™

  • Emile_Mervin

    I would have preferred a different name, like National Guard Service, instead of Guyana People’s Militia, which had a bad political taste because of its Burnham connection.

    Note in the article the GPM was established in 1976 at a time of internal and external threats, but since the GDF and GPM combined were no deterrent to a Venezuelan invasion, then the GPM was seen as a force to put down local political forces trying to stop Burnham’s authoritarianism and asininity.

    With a 40% youth unemployment rate (the highest in the Caribbean), I do not know if many youths will gravitate to the GPM, but I can only hope that since it will receive an annual budget that there is sense of national service and it is not used as another political tool or weapon.

    The AFC has to ensure it can explain this to its core constituents, because I did not read anything about resuscitation of the GPM in the Cummingsburg Accord.

    As for the PPP, it had better not try to milk this development for political gain, because it had 22.7 years to develop a job creation plan for youths but failed miserably. It seemed like most major projects would have entailed imported Chinese labor, while the private sector is made up of mostly consumer-based importation businesses that cater for low-paying jobs.

    • I spent over twenty cherished years in the GPM and three in the GNS…….would do it all over again, if a redo was possible (with some sight variations …… hindsight is 20/20).