The US military and Guyana's Defense Force (GDF) on Thursday began a nine-day joint security exercise codenamed 'Fused Response 2012" to help combat organized crime and illicit trafficking.
Deputy Chief of Staff of the GDF, Colonel Brewster Lovell, said heavy airlift aircraft on Thursday began moving at least 300 American troops and helicopters in Guyana for the March 1 to 9 exercise.
"There will be a lot of troop movement and from our perspective we are all prepared and the US Special Forces have been training with us and it is the first time we are having such a major exercise with the US," Lovell told AFP.
He said the exercise would be confined to the GDF bases near the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and the Jungle and Amphibious Training School on the Essequibo River. At least 125 Guyanese soldiers, police and other security agents would be participating.
No exercises would be held in far west Essequibo, which borders Venezuela.
US Ambassador to Guyana Brendt Hardt said the exercise would help the two countries combat major international crimes.
"Such cooperation is vital because threats to security and stability in the hemisphere persist despite positive economic, social and political gains. Transnational criminal organizations and illicit trafficking are the largest threats to regional and hemispheric security," he said.
Hardt said the exercises would also provide training at the military tactical and senior military staff levels.
The US embassy and GDF have urged the public not to be alarmed at the sounds of simulated explosives, gunfire and low-flying aircraft during the exercise period. "Training activities will be conducted with strict adherence to security procedures that will prevent harm or injury to any member of the public," they said.
"Fused Response 2012" marks the first time that such an exercise would be held in the English-speaking Caribbean with which Guyana is historically and culturally associated.
Source: AFP American Edition