Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Prime Minister, Mr. Mark Phillips, who was formerly Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is now enlisting soldiers to clean up the streets. Sunday’s cleanup of the Mandela-Eccles highway is the most recent. This is not the traditional role of the military nor is the garbage situation of national crisis proportion. Labourers are usually hired and utilised in this role.
Village Voice in conversations with a former high ranking military officer, who in expressing concerns about the misuse of time and labour of soldiers, said when the geopolitics is going through a period of uncertainty the military should be focused on territorial defence not cleaning streets. “It is not time properly spent on the defense of the nation.”
Attention was drawn to the Russian/Ukraine war and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin strategic outreaches, flexing of military might, the close relationship with Venezuela, the flying of Russian supersonic jets to the neighbouring country, and strained relations with United States.
In 2018 Russia flew two Tu-160 nuclear-capable strategic bombers to Venezuela. According to an Associated Press report the warplane could fly at twice the speed of sound and has been upgraded with new weapons and electronics.
The officer reminded the International Court of Jurist (ICJ) has not yet ruled on the border controversy and that Venezuela had signaled its unwillingness to accept any ruling that respects Guyana’s territorial integrity.
Zeroing on the United States’ heightened relationship with the Caribbean, the officer said it is almost as though it is a blind spot by the Government that the GDF, at this time, focus seems to be removed from the global reality.
Instead of cleaning streets, soldiers should be engaging in national military exercises around the country, he said, and questioned when was the last time there was a major military exercise involving all the disciplined services akin to Exercise Greenheart.
During the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) government the services conducted mock assaults on the enemy which were considered important to their military experience and military service. Per the Army, the exercise was “aimed at testing the preparedness of the troops to conduct operations in a close-country or jungle environment.”
The officer said what society is seeing from the prime minister is either contentment to sit and take orders from his political bosses or he does not have any meaningful role in the Irfaan Ali administration. “Phillips should use his own military training and experience to guide the government away from the misguided role of the GDF and utilisation of the men and women in uniform,” he advised.