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Police, soldiers begin six-month security operation

Guyana Defence Force soldiers at a Battle Muster earlier this year.

Guyanese police and soldiers are being deployed countrywide to combat crime, prepare to counter terrorism and strengthen border security ahead of Venezuela’s elections later this month, Minister of State Joseph Harmon announced Wednesday.

“Terrorism has no defined borders, terrorism can occur anywhere and if we you feel that you are immune from it, I believe that…we are not immune from that and, therefore, it would be remiss of a government if it does not put into place arrangements which will secure its citizenry and so we are not waiting for something to happen,” he told a news conference.

In the wake of terrorist attacks in countries such as France, Mali, Russia as well as “terrorist influences in Trinidad and Tobago,” Harmon said government was preparing for any eventuality through the operation codenamed “Dragnet.”

The seven-month long operation, Harmon said, also takes into consideration the Sunday, December 6, 2015 parliamentary elections in neighbouring Venezuela. “You know that there is an election that will be taking place in the month of December in Venezuela and, therefore, we always have to be on the alert for these things that are occurring on our borders,” he said.

The exercise, he said, would entail the joint security services, other law enforcement and government agencies would conduct intensified security operations across Guyana from December 1, 2015 to June, 2016.

“It means that on the borders there would be an enhanced presence by our armed forces, at the ports of entry there will be intensified scrutiny by the immigration services, in the towns and in the villages, there is going to be an increased presence of police ranks,” he said.

All members of the police force, who are not engaged in core policing functions, would be deployed to give an increased “robust presence” to boost public confidence in being safe while conducting businesses, being at home or places of learning.

The Minister of State explained that Operation Dragnet was also partly in response to security concerns that have been raised by sections of the business community with Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin. “It was felt necessary that the businesses got the assurance that government is taking their concerns by putting some sort of action in place,” he added.