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National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, has said the two-week Tradewinds military exercise, which concluded today (April 7), represented the template, which will guide the region’s security preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 and beyond.
Dr. Phillips, who was speaking at the closing ceremony for the training exercise held at the Jamaica Defence Force’s Up Park Camp headquarters in Kingston, said that the Caribbean could only respond to the increasing globalization of international drug markets and terrorism threats, through an international coalition of likeminded states within and outside of the region.
“We live in an age where collaboration with our partners provides the only means for dealing effectively with the threats posed to security by illicit drug trade, terrorism and national disasters,” he pointed out.
Dr. Phillips said that from all reports, the grueling two-week exercise, which involved some 1400 personnel from civil agencies, the police, para-military groups and military armed forces from 18 countries inclusive of the United States and the United Kingdom, “was a successful one”.
“From all reports, exercise Tradewinds was a successful exercise and helped improve the skills and the capacity of all the participants,” he observed.
Meanwhile, Chief of Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin, remarked that while the exercise was overall a success, a number of shortfalls were identified, and it was up to the participating groups to “work on the shortfalls”.
Major General Mentemeyer, Deputy Commander of the United States Southern Command, noted that security was “very serious business” and reminded the uniformed groups that their countries were depending on them to “establish the protection of their borders and the civil law and order”.
“The security of your nations borders, the internal security of your countries, is dependent on everything you do,” he told the participants, while commending their deportment over the training period.
Exercise Tradewinds is an annual training programme involving participants from countries within the Caribbean region. The exercise is sponsored by the United States in cooperation with Caribbean nations and is designed to improve the coordination and interoperability of regional partners in responding to crises, which may threaten the Caribbean.
The exercise has been an annual event on the training calendar of several Caribbean nations since the mid-1980s and involves maritime operations, culminating with a final exercise combining air mobility, sea and land operations.
This year’s programme was used to prepare the region’s security personnel for the CWC 2007. Among the countries participating were: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States and the United Kingdom.