Gov’t to procure €39.5M offshore patrol vessel from France


See below full statement: 

As Government continues to boost its national defence and security capabilities through the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Ashni Singh today, on behalf of Government, oversaw the signing of a Letter of Intent between the GDF and OCEA S.A. for the procurement of an Offshore Patrol Vessel at a cost of €39.5 Million. Also witnessing the signing were the Ambassador of France to Suriname and Guyana, His Excellency Nicolas de Bouillane de Lacoste, Chief of Defence Staff of the GDF, Brigadier Omar Khan and other officials of the Ministry of Finance and the GDF. Signing on behalf of the GDF was Captain (Coast Guard) Vernon Burnett, Colonel Administration and Quartering of the GDF, and Director of the Americas for OCEA S.A., Mr. Yorgo Hernandez. The signing took place at the Ministry of Finance.

During the simple signing ceremony, Dr. Singh re-emphasized that Government in its decision making is being guided by the vision of His Excellency President Irfaan Ali, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, who from the first days of his Presidency said his Government will do all within its power to ensure that the armed forces are adequately equipped to discharge their extremely important functions, including that of safeguarding the nation’s territorial integrity.

Minister Singh also pointed out that this vessel represents the latest instalment in the realization of President Ali’s vision and commitment to ensure that the GDF is well equipped and capable of discharging its very important functions.

“The instructions that he has issued in pursuit of that vision has seen a previously unprecedented ramping up of, and equipping of the GDF, not only as is manifested by this acquisition but several other acquisitions and investments that were made in all of the GDF’s capabilities,” he added as he reminded about the most recent agreement which saw the acquisition of two aircraft for the GDF.

Minister Singh further noted the deepening and strengthening of Guyana’s relationship with France, evidenced most recently by the visit by Minister Stéphane Séjourné, France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and by the announcement by France of the intention to open an embassy in Guyana in 2025.

In delivering his remarks, French Ambassador to Guyana and Suriname, His Excellency Nicolas de Bouillane, while expressing his satisfaction at the development between the two countries in terms of the signing, reminded that the Guyana and French Governments have been in strategic dialogue to move apace with the setting up of a French Embassy here in the country which will be one of two new embassies through which France will be extending its presence and cooperation with other countries in the world. He noted that France is hopeful that the signing today is just one of many of the agreements that will follow.

“United, we are stronger on the different challenges,” Ambassador de Bouillane posited, adding that today France is the second largest importer for all military goods and is a reliable partner.

Speaking during the signing as well, Chief of Defence Staff of the GDF, Brigadier Omar Khan said the decision of equipping the country’s defence force has always been a national endeavour.

“It is pertinent, and it is necessary, and it is in our best interest as a sovereign nation to do so. While our collective actions during this journey have converged in this ceremony today, I single out and recognize the commitment of the Government of Guyana and the vision of our Commander-in-Chief to ensure that the GDF is equipped with the relevant assets for air, land and sea to protect our territory, and to also create an environment conducive to national development,” Brigadier Khan added.

Director of the Americas for OECA S.A. Mr. Hernandez expressed gratitude to the Government of Guyana and the GDF for their decision in relation to the acquisition of the vessel, noting that it demonstrates their commitment to maritime security and safeguarding of the nation’s interest as he noted that the vessel will assist in combatting illegal fishing and trafficking activities and in protecting Guyana’s sovereignty. He also expressed the company’s interest in future in assisting the country with a maintenance shipyard in Guyana.

“Such an investment would not only benefit your nation but also contribute to regional maritime development,” Hernandez added as he expressed appreciation to President Ali for his visionary leadership in the development and protection of Guyana and his steadfast commitment to the nation’s prosperity.

OCEA S.A. specializes in the design, building and sales of aluminium Fast Patrol Boats and Offshore Patrol Vessels, designed for coastal and offshore surveillance and search and rescue operations and associated integrated logistic support services.

The purpose of the LOI is to define the scope, price and payment schedule agreed among the parties, to conclude a contract according to the LOI schedule for the procurement of the model 190 Offshore Patrol Vessel. The price of the vessel includes the cost of the vessel and its equipment and the integrated logistics support services inclusive of training for a five-year period.

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