Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 19, 2018 (SKNIS): The green light has been given for host nations St. Kitts-Nevis and the Bahamas to stage Exercise Tradewinds 2018 as the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by representatives of all partner nations on Thursday, April 19, during the wrap up of the Final Planning Conference, which ran for four days at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort from April 16-19.


Captain Kayode Sutton of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) and Lead Planner for Tradewinds 2018, said that as host nation, the signing of the MOU means that all the necessary information contained in the MOU, including but not limited to articles, details and instructions is binding.


“We have signed it so we are bound by it and we will have to live up to that expectation and conform with all the instructions within the MOU to ensure that Tradewinds exercise 2018 is a success,” said Captain Sutton, while adding that St. Kitts and Nevis will surely deliver and ensure that phase one of Tradewinds is indeed successful. “St. Kitts and Nevis has always delivered. St. Kitts and Nevis has always punched above the waistline. We delivered in 2015 and we want to make it even better in 2018.”


Captain Sutton added that St. Kitts and Nevis has provided a service for almost all the other nations that have hosted Tradewinds since 2015, and noted that the federation is enhancing the training in 2018 and trying to introduce other aspects.


The MOU was established and signed with the aim of providing a baseline for all of the participants in the exercise, according to United States Marine Corps and Exercise Branch Chief at US Southern Command, Lieutenant Colonel (Lt. Col.) Thomas Grace.


“It outlines a few requirements for certain training tracks… and a prime example of that is the dive training track. Obviously, when you are dealing with diving operations it becomes quite complicated depending on depth and what you are doing. But we established a baseline so we don’t have to continually go back to the basics of any training event every year,” said Lt. Col. Grace. “So, again, the prime example is that we set some kind of baseline training so that the training for those respective participants participating in that training can move forward. We are not declining training but we are progressing forward with skills sets.”


The executive branch chief made a clarion call for citizens and residents to support the exercise wherever possible as it will redound to the benefit of everyone. He noted that they will be in for a treat and encouraged everyone to come out in their numbers.


“…they can look forward this year to a very exciting exercise. There is a lot of dynamic training going on. I think the representatives from the host nation here in St. Kitts have planned some interactions with the public and again it should be very exciting,” he said. “There is going to be lots of moving around, lots of different uniforms, lots of different equipment and so it’s going to be a very exciting time for the island here.”


Phase 1 of Exercise Tradewinds 2018 will be held in St.Kitts and Nevis from June 04-12. Partner nations taking part include: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas (Host Nation), Barbados, Belize, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands, St. Kitts and Nevis (Host Nation), Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, United Kingdom and United States.