Trade Winds 2019 had one mission, to make the Caribbean safer and more secure.
That is the way United States (US) Ambassador to Barbados and the Organisation of Caribbean States (OECS) Linda Taglialatela regards Trade Winds, an operation she said came together seamlessly because of multilateral relationships.
Taglialatela, speaking at the closing ceremony of Trade Winds 2019 on June 21 at the Victoria Park, said that as Trade Winds moves into its third phase, it is important that countries work closely together so that if disaster strikes, those in need can receive urgent help.
Taglialatela is grateful to all the participants including the Regional Security System (RRS) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) as she noted that the parties involved and the over 1600 participants, have enhanced the region’s ability to counteract transnational organisational crime and conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
The Ambassador also noted that Trade Winds is one of the several initiatives aimed at improving interoperability between countries and civilian organisations that will better prepare us to prevent and respond to regional threats.
“Trade Winds and our partnerships are an important investment in support of democratic values, good governance and security in the Caribbean and throughout the western hemisphere,” Taglialatela told the gathering.
Also present at the closing ceremony was Military Deputy Commander United States Southern Command Lieutenant General Michael Plehn.
He revealed that participation in Trade Winds is a reflection of the commitments the US made at the Caribbean Nations Security Conference in Trinidad in December 2018.
Lieutenant General Plehn explained that the objective, this year, of Trade Winds was to strengthen the cooperation between the participating countries’ security forces and civilian agencies.
He said this was particularly important in phase two as the participants worked together to provide humanitarian assistance during and after crisis.
“During this and the first phase of the exercise in the Dominican Republic we laid the foundation for the future the development of a multinational combined task force that integrates our collective support to the CARICOM Implementation Agency of Crime and Security/IMPACS and the Regional Security System/RSS.
“This combined task force led throughout this exercise by Lieutenant Colonel (Denzil) Carmichael of Guyana will represent a new security architecture created by our hemisphere’s forces and our allies for our hemisphere’s stability and security,” said Lieutenant General Plehn.
He added that the combined task force will improve our efforts to respond to a natural disaster, humanitarian crisis or other transnational threats.
The closing ceremony also heard from Acting Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker and Commissioner of Police (COP) Colin John.