A contingent of US Marines??on parade at the Opening Ceremony of Exercise Tradewinds 2012 at the Barbados Defence Force’s Paragon base, Christ Church. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

Exercise Tradewinds 2012 has been hailed as the ideal training framework for improving cooperation and interoperability among partner nations to counter security and other challenges facing the region.

So says Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, Colonel Alvin Quintyne, as he addressed military personnel from 17 countries at the opening ceremony for Exercise Tradewinds 2012, today at the Barbados Defence Force’s base at Paragon, Christ Church. It has as its theme: Promoting Regional and Hemispheric Security and Stability.

Colonel Quintyne said: "This year’s exercise seeks to build greater capacity among the military, law enforcement and post-disaster response and management agencies, thereby enabling them to deal more effectively and decisively with such challenges in a more cooperative and coordinated manner."

He expressed thanks to the leaders of the United States Southern Command General, Douglas Fraser, and Major General, John Croley, of the United States Marine Corps Forces and the Department of Canada for their technical and financial support in making the operation come to fruition.

In turn, Chief of Staff of the United States Marine Corps Forces South, Colonel Michael Ramos, said: "The Commander [United States Southern Command] and the US government have invested in this exercise because we recognise the value of working together to confront these common security challenges and we always look for efficiencies and ways to do this more economically particularly in these difficult financial times, but we are very confident that we are getting tremendous value in working together and sharing experiences with all of our partners and all of our friends and I see this exercise continuing in that light."

He added that Exercise Tradewinds2012 represented a "culmination of many months of hard work, detailed planning and excellent cooperation from many dedicated professionals from across our nations. We are truly united through our collaboration and collective efforts to fight terrorism, illicit trafficking, and transnational criminality in all its forms and in being prepared to effectively respond to natural disasters."

He added: "Over the years, Tradewinds has become an important multilateral exercise, bringing together the countries and security forces of the Caribbean in a shared commitment to improve responses to regional security threats and to focus on maritime interdiction, search and rescue operations, basic security force and law enforcement tactics, techniques and procedures with an emphasis on command and control."

Participating nations are all Regional Security System (RSS) member states: Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Dominica, as well the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States and Canada.

Over 500 troops will be based at Paragon, HMBS Pelican and the RSS Training facility. Contingents will receive support from Canada Land Force Atlantic Area Headquarters;?? the 23rd Marine Regiment; United States Coast Guard, US Army (South, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); US Air Force (South, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Naval Criminal Investigative Service; Joint Coalition War Fighting and the Joint Inter Agency Task Force (South).

Now in its 28th year, it is sponsored by the United States Southern Command (US SOUTHCOM) and United States Marine Forces South (MARSOUTH). Exercise Tradewinds will come to a close on June 24. Barbados last hosted such an event in 2003.


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