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GDF soldiers being deployed for elections

Troops being mustered at Base Camp Ayanganna (GDF photo)

Soldiers, trained in internal security, are being deployed across the country to support the police before, during and after elections in ensuring stability, the Guyana Defence Force said Friday night.

“Currently, our troops are being deployed to various parts of the country to deal with any circumstance that require our involvement and support for the provision and maintenance of peaceful and stable communities,” the army said in a statement.

Thousands of Guyanese are expected to cast their ballots on May 11, 2015 from 6AM to 6PM at more than 2,000 polling stations countrywide.

The number of soldiers engaged in ‘Operation Plexus’ was not disclosed by the GDF but it was noted that they have been undergoing training since the date for general elections was announced in January. Training was focused exclusively on internal security areas such as crowd dispersal drills, cordon and search activities, the conduct of road blocks and the suppression of unlawful assemblies.

“Since the announcement of a date for General and Regional Elections, our troops have been immersed in training to fulfill its role of supporting the Police if required to do so,” said the GDF.

The GDF said its sole objective is to ensure that the general and regional elections for the presidency, legislature and 10 administrative regions are executed in a safe, secure, and stable environment, and that a state of normalcy is maintained throughout.

The army urged Guyanese not to be perturbed by the deployment of soldiers and to continue the respect and cooperation with the military. “There is absolutely no need for you the citizens to be fearful of the presence of our troops in your communities as we are deploying to ensure your safety. We urge that, as responsible citizens who have always respected and co-operated with the military, you will be supportive of our tasks as we interact with you from day to day, during this period.”

The GDF also assured that its officers and ranks would “remain professional and committed to its constitutional obligations to assist the civil authorities in the maintenance of law and order.”