Co-director Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo Vickers of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF). (FP)

Ministers of defence and senior government officials from the region are expected to be in Barbados from Wednesday, June 20, until Friday, June 22, as part of Exercise Tradewinds 2012.

This was disclosed by Co-director Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo Vickers of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) in a recent interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, as he outlined aspects of the Distinguished Visitors Programme.

He said: "The Distinguished Visitors Programme is an important component of the Exercise.?? It allows senior officials in the defence realms to interact at the highest possible levels to discuss matters of mutual interest that relate to regional and hemispheric security and defence issues."??????????

Lieutenant Colonel Vickers added that the programme would see chiefs of defence and commissioners of police, heads of regional organisations including the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Barbados Fire Service, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, as well as the local Defence Force and the local Emergency Management agencies, having close-door talk with senior officials of the United States Southern Command.

As far as observers were concerned, he noted that high-ranking officials from the Colombian military, the Dutch Antilles military, and the French military, among others, would also be on hand.

"All in all, we are expecting to have a very good exercise, during which [we hope that] all of the objectives will be achieved.?? At the end, we want to go away satisfied that we have done all in our power to help improve regional and hemispheric security, while at the same time promoting regional and hemispheric stability as well, he stated.

Exercise Tradewinds will come to a close on Sunday, June 24, with a ceremony at the BDF’s base, HMBS Pelican, Harbour Road, beginning at 3:00 p.m.


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