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Some 2000 military, paramilitary and police personnel from 18 countries in the region and the United States and the United Kingdom, are in the island for the Jamaica Defence Force’s (JDF) Exercise Trade Winds 2006, which gets underway on March 25.
The training exercise, which is held in various Caribbean islands annually, is designed to test the readiness of the region to deal with various security scenarios. It incorporates training in jungle warfare, watermanship, and airborne operations. This year, the JDF has decided to extend the programme and will be using the exercise to prepare regional security personnel for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.
Colonel General Stewart Saunders, speaking at a press briefing at Up Park Camp yesterday (March 22), explained that the decision followed a challenge issued by various political and other directorates to ensure that the 2007 staging of Cricket World Cup was the best ever.
“Accordingly, we developed a concept, which saw the ‘train the trainers’ programme at last year’s exercise in Antigua and Barbuda”, he informed.
Speaking further, he said, “in Jamaica, this year, we will be delivering phase two of that concept, namely the testing of participants in scenarios that are likely to arise during the staging of mass events such as World Cup Cricket 2007.”
Colonel Saunders told journalists that training activities were scheduled to take place at Twickenham Park and Green Bay ranges, Chedwin Park, Old Forum Hotel, Moneague Training Camp, the National Stadium, Up Park Camp, Port Royal and Kingston Harbour. Training will conclude on April 7.
The Colonel explained that the main objective of Exercise Trade Winds was to ensure a secure environment throughout the Caribbean.
He informed that exercise scenarios “will include but are not limited to key point protection, VIP protection, counter terrorism operations, mass crowd monitoring and control, mass casualty evacuations, riot suppression, hostage rescue, maritime surveillance and interdictions, port security operations and marksmanship.”
The analysis of these objectives, Colonel Saunders noted, would give the region a clear idea of the current standards and what should be done to ensure the safe staging of the international cricket event.
Meanwhile, as part of the scheduled activities, a Distinguished Visitors Programme will coincide with the training. The programme will take place from April 5 to 7, and will see members of government, heads of militaries and police forces and diplomatic representatives of participating nations, visiting the exercise to observe and interact.