US TO STEP-UP MILITARY TRAINING AID TO CARICOM

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Prime Minister David Thompson, chatting with Outgoing US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Mary Ourisman, during her farewell call.

The Caribbean Community can look forward to an increase in US military training assistance over the next year.

US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Mary Ourisman, gave this assurance to Prime Minister David Thompson today during a farewell call on him.

She said “security of the region is very important to the US; as we need to be vigilant and seek to intercept the drug runners, the money launderers and the criminals who would want to use the Caribbean for their illegal acts.”

She disclosed that during the first quarter of next year, the US will provide military training (including aspects of anti-terrorism) for regional naval officers, and Barbados would be one of the beneficiaries. Prime Minister Thompson welcomed the initiative, noting that it was an important area of assistance, especially for junior coast guard officers.

Regarding US/Barbados relations, the Prime Minister told Ambassador Ourisman that this country and CARICOM were keen to initiate contact with members of the US black congressional caucus to address a number of issues, particularly those pertaining to tax initiatives. “We are hoping to meet with these legislators, some time in January, and engage them on a number of issues that are critical to this region,” he said.

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