Over 800 military, coast guard and police personnel from 22 countries will converge here next month to participate in the annual military exercise, Tradewinds, which will jointly be co-ordinated by Antigua & Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) and the Royal Police Force of Antigua & Barbuda.
The March 2 to 9 joint security disaster training exercise is designed to improve co-ordination and inter-operability of Caribbean partners to respond to crises that may threaten the region, a press release stated.
“This year, Tradewinds will be a two-phased exercise consisting of a training/academic phase culminating in a scenario driven Final Training Exercise (FTX) based on a regional stability operation involving counter illicit trafficking activities, disaster relief/humanitarian assistance and maritime interdiction
“The maritime aspect of the exercise will demonstrate the capabilities and operability of the US Enduring Friendship Program. Other training will focus on compliant and non-compliant boarding party training, evidence processing, hazardous material (hazmat) training, close quarter battle training, and several refresher courses,” the communiqué added.
Tradewinds is funded and administratively supported by the Department of Defense United States Southern Command, which will be providing over $200,000 in material and labour for exercise related construction projects at ABDF’s Training Area at Crabb’s Peninsula, and its Coast Guard Base pier at Deep Water Harbour.
Participants will be drawn from the seven Regional Security System (RSS) member states, Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Haiti, Mexico, the United States and Central and South America.
Members of the US Marine Corp, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) will facilitate the training exercise.