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GDF to stage manoeuvres at all bases

The GDF Coast Guard’s flagship vessel, GDFS Essequibo.

Guyanese soldiers will Friday begin two days of military manoeuvres, days after Venezuelan troops massed near the border with Guyana at a time of rising tensions over the border claim.

The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) said Battle Musters would be held on all bases Friday, but the one at Camp Stephenson would be addressed Friday at 9 AM by Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips after a parachute display at 7 AM.

At 7:30 AM, the GDF said the Coast Guard would be conducting a tactical manoeuvre from its headquarters at Ruimveldt to the Demerara Harbour Bridge.

On Saturday, GDF soldiers are scheduled to hold a route march from 5:30 AM from Plaisance and Providence, East Bank Demerara. “The troops at Base Camp Ayanganna will march from Plaisance to Base Camp Ayanganna and the troops from Base Camp Stephenson will march from Providence to Base Camp Ayanganna.

“They will marry up at Sandy Babb Street to form one body and then the Chief of Staff will take the eyes right on Sandy Babb street.  Brigadier Phillips is expected to deliver his feature address on the Base Camp Ayanganna’s Playfield,” said the GDF.

There will also be concurrent route marches in Linden and Anna Regina, a town located on the Essequibo Coast where Venezuela has apparently convinced Google to rename the Public Road and a number of other streets.

The GDF’s move came one week after Venezuela moved troops, missiles and gunboats to towns near the Guyana-Venezuela border and in the Cuyuni River.  Prior to the troop-deployment, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro announced that he was suspending Guyana’s request to have Cheryl Miles accredited to Caracas as its Ambassador.

Venezuela has in recent months displayed increased aggression to press its claim to the Essequibo Region and the Atlantic sea where American oil giant, Exxon-Mobil, discovered a huge deposit in May, 2015.

Maintaining that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award fully and finally settled the land boundary between the two neighbouring South American nations, Guyana’s President David Granger intends to tell United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon again that he wants the controversy to be sent to the International Court of Justice for final settlement.

Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro has already asked the UN Chief to revive the 23-year old Good Officer mediation process.