‘Tradewinds’ military exercise gets underway; to aid sustained peace and stability

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By Vishani Ragobeer

Exercise Tradewinds 2021 – a United States Southern Command (US SOUTHCOM) sponsored, multinational, Caribbean security exercise – is expected to provide a framework to address the challenges of sustained peace and stability in the region, according to Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Godfrey Bess.

The opening of the exercise was held on Sunday morning at the GDF’s Base Camp Ayanganna in Georgetown. The Tradewinds exercise will, however, be held at several Guyana locations.

“Tradewinds 2021 is a Caribbean security-focused, multidimensional exercise conducted in the ground, air, sea, and cyberspaces,” Brigadier Bess explained on Sunday.

United States Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch (left) interacts with Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Godfrey Bess (center) and Colonel General Staff of the GDF, Julius Skeete (Photo: News Room/ June 13, 2021)

According to him, this multinational exercise brings together 17 partner nations from the Caribbean, Europe, South, and North America and the participating members will conduct joint, combined, and interagency training focused on increasing inter-regional cooperation in complex multinational security operations.

Importantly, the Brigadier said that sustained peace and stability across the Caribbean region and within the borders of the partner nations are crucial to all.

The need for the maintenance of peace and stability, he said, is particularly important in the face of the global environment that is witnessing unprecedented change on the political, economic, technological, environmental, and human sustainability fronts.

Participating members in Exercise Tradewinds 2021 that is being held across Guyana (Photo: News Room/ June 13, 2021)

“In our region, the very visible perennial threats to social and economic stability continue to be annual hurricanes, floodings (sic), and persistent narco-trafficking. In some of our territories, gang violence is undermining such sustainability,” the Brigadier acknowledged.

To mitigate the impact of these threats, he said that it has become necessary for the security forces and civil administration to engage and interface.

Illustrating this, he pointed to the ongoing nationwide flooding which was declared a national disaster and has adversely impacted scores of communities and the collaboration to provide relief.

And, he said that this exercise allows for troops to determine the best practices in handling such occurrences and more. He emphasised that the exercise must be more than a meet-and-greet, but instead, it must embed a shared sense of commitment, peace, and mutual sustainable goals in each participant.

Troops from the United States (US) who recently arrived in Guyana for Exercise Tradewinds

Also, he said, “It must provide a framework for how we move forward in addressing challenges that may arise.”

Through Exercise Tradewinds, troops will participate in joint, combined, and interagency partner nation capacity building focused on increasing regional cooperation in complex multinational security operations, as well as in humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

One of the military aircraft at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport

“What this does is build partnerships, strengthens our partner capacity, shows the security efforts so we can defeat threats if need be and we know that nobody can do it alone,” USSOUTHCOM J7/9 Deputy Director, who was involved in the planning of Exercise Tradewinds, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret’d) Kevin Bostick on Sunday highlighted.

The multinational exercise will occur from June 13 to 25.

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