Addressing senior Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Joint Services officers and dignitaries, President Ramotar said that the relationship between Guyana and the US, particularly on security matters is a long one. Noting that criminals also have access to up to date technologies and equipment, he added that it necessitates a relook of the current approaches used to fight crime and prevent persons from committing illegal acts
“It means we sometimes have to rethink some of our traditional ways of thinking about the demarcation of duties and limitations of duties of some of our disciplined forces.” He added that the new dispensation would also mean closer collaboration among the joint services.
An appeal was also made by the president for those charged with the use of the vessels to care them as resources that would otherwise be spent on unnecessary repairs could be used in other critical areas.
US Ambassador Dr. Brent Hardt, remarked that the metal shark aluminum boats, valued US$1.7M, are the first built by his country to be used by the Guyana Coast Guard, noting his confidence that they would be a valuable addition to the local fleet.
The ceremony marked the start of a new chapter in US Guyana relations, he said, “As we deepen our work together to combat transnational organised crime, ensure freedom of commerce and navigation on inland waterways, and most importantly, ensure the safety and security of the people of Guyana”.
The fact that joint training is on-going between the US and Guyana, was also noted by the ambassador. “Follow-on training will be conducted by various US military teams to ensure that the Guyana Defence Force remains poised and ready to respond to any crisis,” he stated.
The boats were provided under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), launched in 2010, and training for ranks was conducted by the US Coast Guard’s Technical Assistance Field Team.
The patrol boats, N28, N29 and N30, are 31 feet in length, powered by two 250 hp outboard motors, carry 12 ranks at a maximum speed of 50 knots for a range of 200 nautical miles. Two similar vessels will be delivered later this year to increase the GDF’s patrol capabilities.