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GDF STATEMENT- Response to article in Kaieteur News of February 24 regarding Camp Groomes Victims .

The Guyana Defence Force wishes to state that since the explosion at Camp Groomes in 2000, the GDF made a decision that the persons injured in that explosion would remain on strength and with pay until they attained the age of retirement.

More recently, a decision was taken to have those ranks appear before a Medical Board and be discharged as ‘ceasing to fulfil medical standards’, so that they can begin to receive benefits without having to wait until they were age 40, provided that Defence Board concurred.

Two of the injured ranks are already enjoying such benefits.

Our investigations into the claims by the ranks reveal that, a genuine error occurred where, the two ranks that approached the newspaper were published in Force Orders as being struck off strength, ceasing to fulfil medical standards, and consequently, taken off the payroll when their documentation was not yet sent to the Defence Board.

Theses ranks should have remained on the payroll until the Defence Board’s approval was obtained. The Force regrets this error.

The Chief of Staff has assured the affected soldiers that, the publication in Force Orders will be deleted and they will be returned to the payroll and receive salaries from the date they were taken off.

The GDF remains committed to the welfare of its ranks and assures that the correct procedures regarding the processing of their benefits will be followed.