Last Updated on Wednesday, 3 March 2021, 0:19 by Denis Chabrol
The US$9.5 million Bell412Epi helicopter that Guyana purchased late last year is due to arrive on Saturday, Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira said Tuesday.
“The Bell helicopter that we had in the supplementary last year will be arriving on Saturday in Guyana,” she said.
She made the disclosure while responding to questions by Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon during consideration of the estimates for “defence and security support” in the 2021 National Budget.
Sources have already said that Bell helicopter actually costs US$13.5 million but Guyana got a US$9.5 million deal that that includes pilot training, engineer training, product support and three-year warranty
The Governance Minister, assisted by senior officers of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), she said money has been allocated for the construction of a lounge at the Guyana Defence Force’s Air Corps base at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (GDF).
Mr. Harmon queried whether provision has been made for maintenance and scheduled maintenance of the chopper, but the Ms. Teixeira said those questions should have been asked when dealing with current rather than capital expenditure.
The United States Department of Defence has approved the sale of a total of four Bell 412 helicopters to Guyana, saying they would aid in countering narcotics smuggling, deter threats, support coalition partners overseas, strengthen homeland defence and conduct maritime surveillance. “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve security of Guyana, which is expected to grow to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in South America,” the Department of Defence has said.