A new air unit is being established, National Security Minister Stuart Young said on Friday. He made the disclosure during Friday's meeting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives. Young said the unit will provide support for the operations of the police, TT Defence Force and intelligence agencies, and will involve the use of helicopters and drones.
On four Augusta Westland helicopters which were grounded as a result of poor maintenance under the former PP government, Young said a possibility of these helicopters being used for commercial activity in Guyana's energy sector is being explored. He also said the acquisition of two Cape Class vessels from Australian shipbuilder Austal will result in an increase in the size of the Coast Guard's personnel.
Young reiterated that contrary to claims from the Opposition, Coast Guard vessels did not run out of fuel and were not berthed in September when the search was on for some missing fishermen from Carli Bay. He also criticised the PP for acquiring "a fishing trawler" from China for the Coast Guard.
The minister also gave the assurance that efforts are being made to regularise auxiliary fire officers and thanked these officers for filling the gap left with the closure of state oil company Petrotrin which operated six fire sub-stations. Young also said a new tender will be issued for the acquisition of new fire appliances and one of those vehicles will be provided to the Mayaro fire station.