The US State Department has given approval for a foreign military sale of four Bell helicopters and equipment to Guyana following negotiations which began last year under the then David Granger-led administration.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on Friday in a press release that it delivered the required certification and notified Congress of the possible sale.
“The Government of Guyana has requested to buy two (2) Bell 412EPi Light Utility Helicopters with customer-unique modifications; two (2) Bell 429 Light Utility Helicopters with customer-unique modifications; two (2) WESCAM MX-10 cameras; mission equipment; contractor-provided pilot and maintainer training; particular ground support equipment; spares; publications; integrated product support; technical assistance; transportation; Repair and Return; and other related elements of logistics and program support,” the release explained, while noting that the total estimated program cost is US$256 million.
This newspaper was able to confirm that negotiations began under the former David Granger-led administration. However, it was unable to confirm if the current administration is still interested in the aircraft and equipment.
The release added that the proposed sale of the Bell 412EPi and 429 helicopters will improve Guyana’s capability to meet current and future threats. “Guyana will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defense; conduct maritime surveillance, patrol, and interdiction; counter narcotic trafficking and transnational criminal organizations; deter regional threats; and support coalition partners overseas. Guyana will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces,” it further said, while adding that the proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
Additionally, the release explained that the 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.
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It is estimated that over one million Guyanese, when counting their dependents, live outside of Guyana. This exceeds the population of Guyana, which is now about 750,000. Many left early in the 50’s and 60’s while others went with the next wave in the 70’s and 80’s. The latest wave left over the last 20 years. This outflow of Guyanese, therefore, covers some three generations. This outflow still continues today, where over 80 % of U.G. graduates now leave after graduating. We hope this changes, and soon.
Guyanese, like most others, try to keep their culture and pass it on to their children and grandchildren. The problem has been that many Guyanese have not looked back, or if they did it was only fleetingly. This means that the younger generations and those who left at an early age know very little about Guyana since many have not visited the country. Also, if they do get information about Guyana, it is usually negative and thus the cycle of non-interest is cultivated.
This Guyana Diaspora Online Forum , along with its monthly newsletter, aims at bringing Guyanese together to support positive news, increase travel and tourism in Guyana and, in general, foster the birth of a new Guyana, which has already begun notwithstanding the negative news that grabs the headlines. As the editor and manager of the publication, I am committed to delivering Blog entries and Newsletters that are politically balanced, and focused on the positive ideas we wish to share and foster among Guyanese.