BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 13, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – A short but impressive closing ceremony and cultural event were held at Government House on Tuesday, June 12 to bring the curtains down on nine days of intensive land and maritime training as part of the successful staging of Phase I of Exercise Tradewinds 2018, which was held in St. Kitts and Nevis from June 4-12.

Tuesday’s closing ceremony was attended by Governor General, His Excellency Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton GCMG, CVO, QC, JP; the Federation’s only living National Hero, the Right Excellent and Right Honourable Sir Kennedy A. Simmonds; members of the Federal Cabinet; representatives of the diplomatic and consular corps; High Command of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force; top brass of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force, as well as the participants and facilitators of Exercise Tradewinds 2018.

Commenting on the success of the exercises, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, stated that the joint cooperation has proven beneficial to improving the wider region’s initiatives in reducing crime in the Caribbean and by extension, the Western Hemisphere.

The prime minister added, “It is possible therefore and I indeed assuredly express that our collective regional security interest of improving human security by reducing the inflow of illegal weapons, containing and eradicating criminal gangs, can be achieved alongside the US and other partner nations’ national security interests. Among the interests of the US Government is the reduction of the flow of illegal drugs through the region. This of course requires a more serious and formal dialogue, to which we in the Caribbean are firmly committed.”

Prime Minister Harris further stressed that the continuation of this type of multi-national cooperation in strengthening the capacities and capabilities of law enforcement personnel is critically important if the region is to truly realize a reduction in crime.

“Drug and other transnational crime networks in the region will not thrive once we work together,” Dr. Harris stated.

The prime minister added, “Your participation in Exercise Tradewinds demonstrates that when we cooperate we will not be overwhelmed and our capacity to cope remains strong. That is the lesson we have long learnt here; working together more will be achieved, and it is better to work together than to work apart. In this regard, all participating states must come away from the Exercise with the improved capability to working with multiple security partners in a peaceful or contested environment.”

Among the exercises conducted as part of the training in St. Kitts and Nevis were weapons training at Bakers Range, military operations in urban terrain, close quarters battle, simulated land and marine raids, as well as the simulation of a plane crash at the RLB International Airport to test the emergency response plan.

Exercise Tradewinds is a multi-national maritime security and disaster response exercise held annually in the Caribbean. Led by the United States Southern Command, it brings together defence and security partners from different countries to enhance the collective abilities of defense forces and constabularies to counter transnational organized crime and terrorism, and to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

Phase II of Exercise Tradewinds 2018 is taking place in the Bahamas from June 13 to 21.