Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 04, 2018 (SKNIS): The presence of Senior United States (US) officials at the (June 04) official opening ceremony of Tradewinds 2018, Phase 1 in St. Kitts and Nevis was a clear indication that the US stands ready to support the preparedness of security forces of partner nations in the Caribbean region.


Tradewinds 2018 is a Caribbean-focused training exercise led by the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). It is designed to help participants to better respond to natural disasters and land and maritime threats. The training runs from June 4 – 21 in two main phases in St. Kitts & Nevis and the Bahamas with a final key leader seminar phase in Miami. The exercise includes U.S. military and security agency personnel who will train with colleagues from more than 20 partner nations.


Her Excellency Linda Taglialatela, US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, said that the training exercise is expected to be an impressive display of professionalism, team work and dedication.


“Over the next nine days, you the security and disaster management professionals will exercise your capabilities and capacities to better prepare all of our nations to face regional threats together,” said Ambassador Talialatela. “This meticulous and challenging work not only prepares us for future operations but also facilitates an exchange of regional knowledge and expertise. Ultimately, that is the goal of Tradewinds, bringing together regional partners to build upon our already strong relationships to advance the security of our shared region.”


She expressed the US’ commitment to continue working with the Caribbean region in strengthening the capacity of security forces and law enforcement agencies.


“By ensuring that we have the proper training, right equipment and professional education, and through multinational exercises and security force engagements such as Tradewinds, we collectively prepare ourselves to deter or respond to the many threats we face,” she said. “The US is proud to be a partner with you in this effort ensuring our collective safety, security and prosperity.”


Brigadier General Juan Pablo Forero, Director, Director of J7/9 Exercises and Coalition Affairs with USSOUTHCOM, said that Tradewinds is extremely special, adding that the region has a lot to be proud of.


“It showcases the increasing security capacity of our regional partnerships to confront shared challenges like transnational criminal networks. Since 2014, the exercise has incorporated vessels provided through the  ‘Secure Seas’ programme, which helps procure state-of-the-art patrol boats and communication suites for our Eastern Caribbean partners. Several of these vessels and their crews will participate in Tradewinds 2018, demonstrating the value of this important programme,” he said. “Tradewinds is also special because it brings together regional experts in disaster management to test and improve our national and regional response mechanisms. As those of us who live in this beautiful part of the world know all too well that natural disasters loom as ever present dangers. Tradewinds helps us all to work through the complexities associated with crisis response – so when the inevitable happens we will be ready to respond when it matters most.”


He noted that although the technical skills learned and practiced in Tradewinds 2018 are important, the partnerships forged among partner nations are most valuable.


Phase 1 of Exercise Tradewinds runs from June 04-12 in St. Kitts and Nevis, while training will be executed in the Bahamas from June 13-21.