While Government has not ruled out purchasing a vessel for defence purposes, it has made it clear that there were no immediate plans to make such an acquisition.President David Granger engaging officials of British naval vessel HMS MerseyThis pronouncement was made by President David Granger on Monday. In light of the recent visit of the British naval vessel HMS Mersey to Port Georgetown, the Head of State was asked whether Government was moving to acquire the vessel. Granger denied any such plans.“There is no plan, there is no intention, there has been no prospect, and there has been no consideration. I heard it mentioned, but we have not entered into any negotiations. The acquisition of a vessel is a technical matter and I wouldn’t move without advice,” he declared.However, the President noted that while there was no such move at present, it was something that Government would not rule out. He added that there were certain factors that needed to be taken into consideration such as identifying the country’s defence needs in order to determine whether such a vessel satisfied them.“Right now we are looking at fishery protection; we are looking at the protection of the petroleum exploration platforms in our EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), and we are looking at a vessel which has the speed and also has the firepower to chase away intruders,” Granger stated.On this note, the Guyanese Head of State pointed out that the British vessel was one that basically provided relief during disasters, and hence would not be suitable for Guyana’s needs.“You got to define your needs first before you start looking for the vessel or else you would end up with a lemon,” he remarked.The President further revealed to reporters that Government has already identified the country’s needs in terms of a defence vessel, but has not allocated any monies in this financial year to make such an acquisition.Two weeks ago, the HMS Mersey arrived at Port Georgetown as the United Kingdom sought to strengthen cooperation with the Caribbean in order to boost regional security. During a tour of the vessel, President Granger said Guyana was keen on interdicting narcotics entering and leaving Guyana, an area the Royal Navy has particular interest in in the Caribbean.“We cannot (fight narcotics trade) on our own; we cannot protect our borders on our own; we cannot prevent traffickers from bringing narcotics, particularly cocaine, into our country on our own. We depend on countries with technology, particularly the United States and also the United Kingdom,” he stated.According to the President, Guyana is a known transit point in the global drug trade as narcotics are brought here to be shipped off to other markets around the world. As such, it was important to forge relations with the UK and the US since the most lucrative narcotics markets are in Europe and North America.“In that regard, we felt the Royal Navy might help us to stop this narco-trafficking,” the President had remarked.