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Revived Guyana People’s Militia more than 1,500 strong

FILE PHOTO: Members of the then Guyana People’s Militia.

The resuscitated Guyana People’s Militia, the reserve arm of the Guyana Defence Force, has recruited and trained 1,608 persons, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said

The minister, who was responding to a question posed by the Opposition, said those persons were recruited at various levels and are between the ages of 18-35 and are physically and mentally stable for entry.

Thus far, 36 persons have been recruited from Barima-Waini (Region One), 154 from Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three), 365 from Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four), 204 from Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five), 405 from East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six), 93 from Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven), 42 from Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight), 45 from Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) and 264 from Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region Ten).

Special consideration is given to highly-skilled retired military personnel and skilled professionals, the minister said.

Additionally, recruitment teams are deployed to the various regions to sensitise persons on the programme and to recruit those interested.

Advertisements are placed on social media, radio, television and flyers are distributed to attract interest.

The officers are required to attend specialised training three times per week in the regions. The training entails personal drills, map reading and navigation, jungle and weapons training, internal security, national policy and more.

A payment of $2,829 per day is provided.

The State Minister made it clear that persons are not forced to join the Militia but do so of their own free will.

Minister Harmon also informed the House that after a 10-year hiatus the Reserve Officer Training, conducted by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), has recommenced and will conclude on June 2019.

Opposition front-bencher, Gail Teixeira queried whether government was exercising political leverage to recruit Militia members especially since the highest number appeared to be drawn from Regions Four and 10.