Over 350 civilians, military and police personnel are expected to converge in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines when this country hosts 'Exercise Trade Winds' in 2019.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves
Speaking at a press conference on December 7th, 2018, to launch Trade Winds 2019 (TW19), Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves announced that this country will host phase 2 of Trade Winds 2019 from June 14th – 20th. Phase 1 will be held in the Dominican Republic.
In preparation for the event, a national committee has been set up that includes a number of key agencies such as the Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard, the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) and other ministries and state bodies.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said one of the main objectives of the exercise is to improve and enhance the region’s readiness and response mechanisms to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes and to address other contemporary issues such as terrorism, trans- national organised crime, human trafficking and drug trafficking, trafficking in small arms and ammunition.
Trade Winds is an exercise designed to conduct joint, combined and inter-agency training focusing on regional cooperation for complex multinational security operations. Humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations are also part of the exercise.
While commending the preparatory work done so far by the local secretariat; the Prime Minister warned those who are part of the national committee that they should not think that the exercise was just for the military. He said all stakeholders would be needed during the week of the training exercise.
Countries that would be involved in TW19 include: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St.Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago as well as military personnel from the USA, Canada, France, Mexico and Netherlands. Other important organisations that will join the exercise include: Regional Security System (RSS), the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CEDEMA) and Caricom.
PM Gonsalves said trade winds would be an opportunity for Vincentians to showcase the best of Saint Vincent and the Greandines. “I want the tourism ministry and all the hoteliers and everybody to keep these dates in mind, June 14-20th next year,” he said.
He also announced that before the commencement of the exercises, the American forces will undertake substantial renovations of the Old Montrose Police headquarters. The British, he said, would also assist in two or three community projects.
HE Linda S. Taglialatela
US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, HE Linda S Taglialatela, in her remarks said through Trade Winds Exercise, coordinated by the US Southern Command, the US and Caribbean nations have strengthened their resilience and responsiveness to regional threats and solidify partnerships so they can effectively prevent and respond to threats in their collective security.
Ambassador Taglialatela said the work the US Southern Command does in the Caribbean region has lasting and meaningful impact which was very evident during the response in the 2017 hurricane season. She then thanked PM Gonsalves and the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for generosity in hosting phase 2 of trade winds 2019.
Major General David Bellon
Commander of the US Marine Forces South, Major General David Bellon, also attended the launch.
Trade winds was last held here in 2004.