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TRADEWINDS 2023 Concludes

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Guyana has successfully hosted the 38th iteration of EXERCISE TRADEWINDS 2023.

The two-week multinational, multifaceted, multi-domain security exercise, which saw participation from 21 nations, officially concluded Thursday with a formal closing ceremony held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal East Coast Demerara.

During the US SOUTHCOM-sponsored exercise, more than 1500 personnel honed their skills in maritime interdiction, ground security, and interagency collaboration; and those skills will undoubtedly enhance interoperability within the region.

A total of 90 service women from partner nations participated throughout the exercise, operating at all different levels and different areas.

This year’s exercise included Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) training, which tested regional response to a simulated oil spill and catastrophic flooding.

Tradewinds 2023 also included a Women Peace and Security conference organized by the US Southern Command and attended by members of the Joint Services of Guyana in a thrust to encourage and support gender inclusion across the services.

Performing the duties of President, Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, in his address to the assemblage, extended his government’s gratitude to the continued sponsorship and stewardship of the US Southern Command in its assurance to work with the Caribbean Region to strengthen regional cooperation and stability, while improving the efficacy of responses to security threats prevalent in the region.

He noted that Guyana is honored to have loaned its facilities and resources yet again. He impressed upon the need for collaborative efforts between nations, noting that with the advent of technology, many threats no longer recognize borders.

“Our interconnectedness, particularly within the CARICOM region, therefore means that the safety of our people is intricately linked, so addressing these matters as a collective becomes paramount,” he posited.

“ The government of Guyana is committed to the overall well-being of its people, with a strong focus on creating safer communities for all. Therefore Exercise Tradewinds 2023 also aligns with our commitment to achieving these goals, particularly regarding training our security personnel and improving overall defence capabilities,” Prime Minister Phillips asserted.

Commander of the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), General Laura Richardson, expressed gratitude to the government of Guyana and the GDF, the US, SOUTHCOM, and all the relevant stakeholders for their continued support in making Exercise Tradewinds 2023 a success.

She said this year’s exercise is the most complex in its 38 years history.

In this regard, she pointed to criminal organizations, malign state actors, cybercrime, environmental climate change, and regular migration, which she said continues to grow in scope and intensity, posing a significant challenge to the national security of the entire Western Hemisphere.

General Richardson stated that these threats are global in nature and more complex than those of recent decades, forcing democracies to confront them head-on.

However, she added, these problems exceed the capability of any one nation.

“Multinational partnerships, formed and strengthened through all domain exercises such as TW, enhance our ability to confront global security threats and deter maligned actors. The magnitude of these prospecting challenges is a call to action, and it requires each of us to work together to confront these threats. The past two weeks have been an excellent opportunity for us as like-minded democracies. We rolled up our sleeves and conducted combined training focused on enhancing our regional and global cooperation through multinational security operations. We are all connected across the land, air, sea, and cyber domains. This year during TW, over 1500 personnel honed their skills in maritime interdiction, ground security, and interagency collaboration… These scenarios provide an incredible opportunity to build muscle memory of how to respond quickly to mitigate disaster. It is not a matter of if a major disaster will hit; it is a matter of when and we must be prepared. TW is more than just an exercise; it is an opportunity to build cooperation, trust, and coordination, confidence among our teams so that you won’t meet for the first time during a real operation,” she posited.

Meanwhile, Chief-of-Staff Brigadier Omar Khan said the Guyana Defence Force is grateful for the opportunity to train and learn new skills alongside their regional and US counterparts.

“In these past two weeks, we jumped out of an aircraft together; we lived and operated in the jungle together; we shared our expertise to conduct house clearing, public order, and humanitarian and disaster relief drills together, and we executed maritime interception maneuvers together. All these were as a result of our detail planning which we did together,” Brigadier Omar Khan noted as he reflected on how successful the exercise unfolded.

“In all of this, I dare say Exercise Tradewinds 2023 has made us stronger by operating together,” he asserted.

Brigadier Khan believes that beyond the symbolic exchange of badges and social interactions among participating countries, Tradewinds has served to further consolidate and enhance the will of participating countries to work together. He labeled the event “a truly wonderful experience.”

The visiting delegation was treated to a cultural program following the official proceedings.
Participating nations in this year’s event were Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Mexico, France, Grenada, Guyana, Netherlands, St Vincent and the Grenadines the United States and the United Kingdom.

EXERCISE TRADEWINDS has been held annually since 1984, only missing one year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guyana held the 36th iteration of the exercise in 2021.

TRADEWINDS aims at enhancing the collective ability of participating nations’ defense forces to counter regional threats and conduct humanitarian aid/disaster relief operations while developing strong relationships and reinforcing human rights awareness.

SOURCE: Guyana Defence Force

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1 COMMENT

  1. The training needed for RSLPF is Investigative Training, not combat training for regional threats, what regional threat!

    We’ve probably got 5k unsolved or open investigations if not more – in the absence of transparency we are left to assume.

    The hurricane season is the most dangerous regional threat – so I would agree on training for humanitarian aid/disaster relief operations.

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