…were each receiving less than $30,000 as compensation
Seven members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) who were injured in an explosion at Camp Groomes, the army’s ammunition storage base on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway, were each receiving less than $30,000 per month.
What is even worse is that complaints about their dire circumstances and terrible plight were being ignored.
The foregoing was revealed in the latest report (2017-2018) tabled in Parliament last week by Ombudsman, Retired Judge Winston Patterson. Those who were injured included two Corporals, three Lance Corporals and two Privates.
A few of them suffered third-degree burns on their bodies, legs, backs, while others sustained damaged and fractured spines.
According to the report, these young men, all having families and medical issues, were receiving under $30,000 per month as compensation, and all needed regular medical attention and enhanced living conditions.
Even though they complained about their conditions to the relevant authorities, all were ignored. As a result, they requested assistance from the Ombudsman.
“I acknowledged receipt of their complaints and informed them that attempts would have been made to have their situations dealt with as early as possible. They were interviewed and having deemed their request justified, the relevant authority expeditiously got on board and resolved their issues much to their satisfaction,” the Ombudsman noted in his report.
For the years thus far, several ranks of the GDF were killed in the line of duty. On February 22, 2020, Corporal Seon Rose of Friendship, East Coast Demerara, died following an explosion aback of the Guyana Defence Force’s Coast Guard location at Ruimveldt, Georgetown.
He sustained third-degree burns about his body. Also injured in that explosion were Terrence Neils, Gordon Cornette, Isiah Gordon, Trevon Joseph, Andrew Garnette, Victor Low, Atto Cort and Delroy Baird.
Reports are that the explosives were being prepared for the annual fireworks display to usher in Guyana’s 50th Republic Day celebrations when the explosion occurred.
Meanwhile, on April 30, 2020, three soldiers were killed and two others were injured following a sudden explosion at the armoury at the Guyana Defence Force’s Base Camp Stephenson at Timehri, East Bank Demerara.
The dead ranks were identified as 23-year-old Lance Corporal Kevon Nicholson of Levi Dam, Angoy’s Avenue, New Amsterdam, Berbice; 28-year-old Lance Corporal Tooley Peneux of Orealla Village, Corentyne River; and 20-year-old Private Shaqueel Deheart, of Paradise Village, West Coast Berbice.
According to a statement from the GDF, the incident occurred at the Arms Store Complex of Camp Stephenson. The statement said preliminary investigations have so far revealed that the soldiers were involved in the preparation of pyrotechnics (fireworks) for demolition when the incident occurred.
Following the two recent deadly explosions, the GDF launched a Board of Inquiry.