Best’s recklessness underlines his further lack of discretion in dealing with the security of our country

Dear Editor,
It is with considerable dismay that I read Gary Best’s response to me on the matter of the safety and integrity of Guyana’s borders.

The reason that I wrote in the first place in response to Best’s highly politicised opinions, was simply to say to him, and I repeat, that this “is not a matter for political gamesmanship” and that “he is knowledgeable enough to know better”.

Best’s response to me in today’s media, published in both the Stabroek and Kaieteur News, has most, unfortunately, added insult to injury; injury done not to me but to his country.

It is unbelievable that our former Chief-of-Staff should be advocating in the press that we discuss “details on how the concept of total national defence would be operationalised across Guyana … details on how the GDF would be expanded and equipped to defend our land and maritime borders beyond its current capability … details on how the GDF would be expanded and equipped to defend and protect our vital offshore oil resources, etc….”

Best goes on, inexplicably and unapologetically, to reveal that, when serving as Chief-of Staff, the advice he gave “the PPP government” and then quotes at length from a Guyana Defence Force document approved by the Defence Board, surely a serious breach of confidence.

Even worse, Best attempts to question the efficacy of Guyana’s “bilateral defence cooperation with the US, UK and others”. Certainly, that is not a matter for detailed public consumption.

If Gary Best were a retired Vice Admiral and Chief-of Staff of the Maduro government and wrote in the Venezuelan press as he now writes in ours, he would, of course, already be in jail for having betrayed the trust placed in him.

Fortunately for him, he lives in a free country with a free press but should know that does not give him a licence to indulge in grossly irresponsible and unforgivable behaviour in pursuit of scoring political points at the expense of our national security.

In contrast, the leadership of the People’s National Congress has acted with great responsibility on speaking with one voice with our government on the matter of Venezuela’s continuing threat to the patrimony of our country, and I must presume that Best does not speak or write on their behalf.

The statement that I quoted “the US and Guyana were deepening our defence cooperation” are not my words but those of US Deputy National Security Advisor, Jon Finer. They speak for themselves. I never once suggested in my letter that the defence of our borders is not ultimately our own responsibility.

Let me conclude by thanking Mr. Cheddi (Joey) Jagan Jnr. (who is not amongst my admirers) for rising above this fact for his comments on this matter expressed in the Stabroek News last Saturday (10th February): “Even though I part ways with Nascimento on almost everything, I would like to agree with everything he states in his letter, especially in relation to Britain and the USA, in dealing with the Maduro threat. Mr. Best should step up, along with other opposition personnel, to support the government’s efforts to protect Essequibo through diplomacy and unity of all Guyanese on this issue and, as a former GDF head, his contrary comments should have been kept to himself.

“Maduro is a communist dictator hell-bent on acquiring our land and whichever government is in power in Guyana should be soundly supported on this issue, no matter what, as long as that government is not selling out to Maduro”.

I regret now that I even bothered to express my concern about Best’s recklessness as it has only resulted in underlining his further lack of discretion in dealing with the security of our country. I will have nothing more to say on this matter.

Yours sincerely,
Kit Nascimento


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