The Opposition Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) is expected to grill the Coalition Government on the re-activated Guyana People’s Militia in Parliament on Friday.
On January 3, 2016, the Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips announced that the Guyana People’s Militia had been re-activated with effect from December 1, 2015 and that it hoped to recruit an additional 1500 persons as reserves. “These are not full-time, these are part-time soldiers. The whole concept is to have a small regular army and a larger reserve that could augment the regular army,” he said.
The Chief of Staff at the time noted that the advantage of having the GPM as a separate entity rather than being part of the GDF as the 2nd Infantry Battalion since August, 1997. “They will have a separate budget and a separate organizational structure, greater involvement at the regional and community levels in defence and security activities, not to mention training and employment activities,” he is reported to have remarked.
The Commander in Chief stated at the 2016 Annual Officers Conference that “The ‘reserve force’ – the Guyana People’s Militia – is being re-built in every administrative region. The Militia is an essential arm of the Regional system. Each regional capital town will have its own unit, eventually, to enable to respond more promptly to render assistance to residents in the event of emergencies.”
During the annual budget debate on the 2016 Budget Estimates, February 15, 2016, the Honourable Minister Harmon informed the House in response to questions that the Guyana People’s Militia was as in the past situated within the Guyana Defence Force as the 2nd Infantry Battalion Reserve and its budget was included within the GDF budget and administration.
The PPP is trying to ascertain i) the criteria and methodology of recruitment of persons into the People’s Militia; ii) the numbers of persons who have been recruited into the People’s Militia in the last two years? iii) by what means have these persons been recruitment via public advertisement in the media, in the social media, or any other means? iv) the numbers of persons by regions who have been recruited? v) the type of training that the recruits are being given and for how long? And vi) are recruits receiving stipends, salaries or other benefits?