‘One one dutty build dam’ – President says as GDF commissions new Bell 412 helicopter
Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali on Saturday urged Guyanese to have a greater understanding of the constraints facing the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) as he pledged his government’s support for massive upgrades to the Force’s assets in the coming years.
The President’s comments, which were intended to rebuff many of the harsh comments against the GDF from the civilian population, was made as he oversaw the consecration and commissioning of a new Bell 412 helicopter. The President referred to the popular Guyanese saying, “One, one dutty build dam,” which means, every little bit adds up as he urged citizens to be proud at this moment.
The President said this was part of providing the tools necessary for upgrading the GDF to a “modern forward locking defence architecture.” To this end, he said before the end of the year, the GDF marine corps will also be receiving upgraded assets.
“It is the beginning of a new trend,” the Head-of-State said.
Meanwhile, Chief-of-Staff Brigadier Godfrey Bess, in underscoring the importance of the GDF finally receiving the medium-lift helicopter, said it comes as Guyana continues to counter acts of aggression by its western neighbour, Venezuela.
Dr. Ali said while this is so, Guyana continues to be supported by the best diplomacy and the greatest partnerships with trusted partners. He recognised the role the United States government played in the acquisition of the new helicopter which at the time of purchase only had flying hours between the manufacturer to the warehouse.
The ceremony was also attended by Prime Minister and former Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips, Ministers of the Government, Heads of the Joint Services and United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah Ann Lynch.
The helicopter touched down at Base Camp Ayanganna just after 16:00hrs and received a ceremonial water cannon salute from the Guyana Fire Service.
With the capacity to carry 13 persons at once, the dual-use helicopter will be used for a wide range of operations, including search and rescue, offshore operations, tactical insertion and extraction of ranks, humanitarian missions, and other civil defence operations.
With a twin-engine power, it can travel to any part of Guyana and is regarded as the best suited helicopter for the missions and operations in the context of the country’s terrain.
Guyanese are being assured that all due diligence was followed in the purchase of the helicopter, which was manufactured in 2018. It comes with a three-year 00 flight hours warranty from the manufacturer – Bell – with an added insurance that put Guyana in direct contact with the company for future maintenance.
Bell representatives were present at the event on Saturday.