Last Updated on Monday, 15 February 2016, 19:52 by Denis Chabrol
Although the Guyana People’s Militia has been revived, government Monday said no specific amount of money was allocated for equipment, training and kit for that paramilitary wing that has been resuscitated by the nine-month old coalition administration.
Despite repeated requests by People’s Progressive Party Civic’s Gail Teixeira, Clement Rohee and Juan Edghill; Minister of State Joseph Harmon stood his ground.
“The equipment, kits and everything that has to do with the Guyana People’s Militia will be purchased and acquired through the lines that are being utilized for the ourchase if kit and equipment for the Guyana Defence Force,” Harmon told the House during consideration of the estimates of expenditure for the 2016 National Budget.
Rohee moments earlier insisted that “there must be a line item under which these items will be procured.”
Harmon further explained that the GPM, which recently advertised for an additional 500 persons, would be deployed to help protect Guyana’s borders and serve as a “reservoir” to assist the Civil Defence Commission in disaster response.
Having been earlier told that GPM’s activities and resources would be funded by the GDF, Teixeira remarked that “this seems to be militarization of the People’s Militia.”
PPP front-bencher, Odinga Lumumba asked whether the GPM would be deployed for purposes other than those stated by Harmon. In response, the minister noted that the operational use of the GDF resides with the Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force ad that the roles and functions of the militia are clearly defined.
When the PPPC assumed office in 1992, it had reiterated the need to de-militarise Guyana and by 1997 the GPM was scrapped and formed part of the GDF’s 2nd Infantry Battalion. The coalition-led government has since 1st December, 2015 revived the militia as a separate unit.
The GPM is provided for in the Defence Act as a reserve corps.