Military chief urges soldiers to be vigilant against trans-border crime as O&G industry takes off

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Brigadier Patrick West, Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defense Force speaking at the Force's 52nd Anniversary

Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Brigadier Patrick West is urging ranks to be vigilant and guard against new border threats which may emerge with the advent of the South American country’s oil and gas industry.

This charge was given by Brigadier West at a church service held at GDF’s Base Camp Ayanganna, to mark the Force’s 52nd Anniversary.

He said, “Our country, as you know is at a strategic stage or enforcement stage of development and the discovery of oil has brought many blessings and probably its curses, so greater vigilance is required on our borders as non-traditional threats in the form of trans-border crime may want to become prevalent.”

The soldiers were also reminded that in order to meet the challenges of this new sector, they must begin to build their capabilities and change their thinking to better address these issues as they may arise.

“We must continue to be open in our transformation, greater accountability is required at all levels. Give your heart in working to build an organization that can withstand all the ills of society,” he urged.

In addition to territorial claims by neighbouring Venezuela and Suriname, reports of cross-border crime occurring in Guyana; in some cases violent criminal attacks, have been made in the past, particularly in the remote border locations with Guyana and Venezuela.