1,300 military, police personnel for Exercise Tradewinds
MORE than 1,300 military and police personnel from the Caribbean, United States (US), Canada, Britain, France and Mexico are in Jamaica for Exercise Tradewinds 2016.
The nine-day exercise, from June 20 to 28, is focused on training in maritime and land operations.
It is phase two of the multinational security training initiative, which is being led by US Southern Command (US SOUTHCOMM).
Chief of Defence Staff Major General Antony Anderson, in welcoming the participants Monday, said their attendance was indicative of a commitment to "making our countries and our citizens safer."
"It’s about refining what we do and looking at ways of improving what we do. We all share the same threats and so we all must find and share the solutions," he said, during a brief ceremony at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) headquarters, Up Park Camp.
Deputy Chief of Staff, United States Marine Corps Forces, South, Colonel David Carbonero, underscored the importance of establishing and building relationships that can counter challenges such as transnational organised crime, which he described as a "cancer that plagues our region".
He thanked the JDF for co-hosting Exercise Tradewinds for the third time in the initiative’s 21-year history, noting that "the relationships that we build and develop will determine how well we come together when faced with a security crisis or a natural disaster".
"Strong and lasting partnerships will enable us to provide security and stability for our region and, in the end, we will provide happiness and prosperity for our people," he added.
Exercise Tradewinds, which commenced in 1996, is an annual activity aimed at strengthening the capacity of defence forces and constabularies across the region to counter transnational organised crime and conduct humanitarian/disaster relief operations, among other things.
Phase two will focus on strengthening capacity in maritime-related ground security operations, and will be administered by visiting military personnel from the United States, Britain, Canada, France and Mexico and local counterparts.
The first phase, which was conducted in Grenada from June 5 to 14, focused on the delivery of humanitarian assistance and disaster response. The third and final phase will entail a leadership seminar to be conducted in Miami, Florida, from July 19 to 21.
Several other activities will also be held during the Jamaica leg of Exercise Tradewinds, including tours of the operation areas in Kingston, St. Catherine, Portland, St Ann, and St James, and a coastal clean-up project.
Exercise Tradewinds supports the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative and Central American Region Security Initiative.
The other regional countries represented are Antigua and Barbuda; The Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Canada; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Guyana; Haiti; St Kitts and Nevis; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; and Turks and Caicos Islands.