TRADEWINDS 2023 strengthening partnerships, training, fostering respect for human rights

As Guyana hosts the TRADEWINDS 2023 exercise, heavy focus is being placed on strengthening partnerships, training, and respect for human rights.

TRADEWINDS is a Caribbean- focused exercise held annually since 1984, which is designed to expand the region’s capability to mitigate, plan for, and respond to crises; increase regional training capacity and interoperability. While developing new and refining existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to enhance the ability to defend Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). 

Outgoing US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch highlighted the importance of the exercise while highlighting some activities that will be carried out during the two-week exercise.

US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch at TRADEWINDS 2023 opening ceremony

She was speaking at a simple opening ceremony hosted at Base Camp Ayanganna, on Saturday.

“Tradewinds return to the welcoming country of Guyana for this highly important combined and joint exercise. Where for the next two weeks we will focus on the critical task of building relationships, promoting regional interoperability, and reinforcing of security and stability in the Caribbean region.”

The ambassador noted that the exercises have embedded human rights and women, peace, and security elements to encourage security forces to apply their knowledge of human rights and women’s peace and security issues, in practical and real-life scenarios.

National Security Advisor, Capt. Gerry Gouveia

Similarly, National Security Advisor, Captain Gerry Gouveia emphasised the importance of the exercise as he called on the forces to work together to maintain Guyana as a zone of peace.

“We gather in an area in this region that has always been known as the zone of peace and a lot of times a lot of places in the world have been in turmoil…We must all endeavour to keep it that way,” he urged.

TRADEWINDS 2023 is being sponsored by the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which is partnering with 1,500 security force personnel from 20 countries in a multi-dimensional exercise covering ground, air, sea, and cyber domains.

Some partnering countries include Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Dominica, Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, France, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

In addition, Inter-governmental organisations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Regional Security System (RSS), the Caricom Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) are key participants.