Tradewinds foster knowledge sharing, strengthens military and security capabilities – Prime Minster Phillips
Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) the Honourable Mark Phillips said that Guyana was proud to host the Tradewinds 2023, the multinational military exercise, for a third time, especially since it fosters knowledge-sharing and diplomatic ties among the members of the armed forces, and showcases the nation’s military readiness and commitment to regional security initiatives.
Prime Minister Phillips made these remarks at the closing ceremony of Exercise Tradewinds 2023, which was hosted by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) in collaboration with the U.S. Southern Command- (SOUTHCOM), at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal.
He underscored the importance of the multinational military exercise in promoting strong defence and security relations, adding that over the years, the Tradewinds have allowed the local joint services and partner countries to strengthen their military and security capabilities.
“Today, more than 1,500 personnel from the United States and 21 partner nations have completed what will most likely be regarded as a landmark experience in their military careers. What we have seen in Guyana over the last two weeks is a reinforcement of 38 years of commitment towards strengthening transnational partnerships and coordination through combined capacity-building of our military personnel to build adequate defences against ever-evolving crises and security threats that transcend our borders.”
Prime Minister Phillips, who is also performing the functions of President, highlighted the support of the US Southern Command and expressed appreciation for its dedication and cooperation on security and defence matters.
“The Government of Guyana commends and extends gratitude to the continued sponsorship and stewardship of the US Southern Command in its assurance to work with the Caribbean Region to strengthen regional cooperation and stability while improving the efficacy of responses to security threats prevalent in the region.”
Turning his attention to human rights, the Prime Minister remarked that the additional focus and awareness incorporated into the exercise aligns with the government’s strategy for strengthening the country’s security and defence capacity.
“The Government of Guyana is committed to the overall well-being of its people, with a strong focus on creating safer communities for all. Therefore, the Tradewinds 2023 exercise aligns with our commitment to achieving these goals, particularly regarding training our security personnel and improving overall defence capabilities.”
The Senior Government Official explained that the inclusion of human rights principles is a promising indication that our security forces intend to be the forerunners of our safety and champions of the protection of everyone’s human rights.
“Our security forces must work hand-in-hand with civil society, human rights organisations, and independent oversight bodies to ensure that allegations of human rights violations are thoroughly investigated and addressed. They must uphold human rights principles, demonstrate authentic leadership, and contribute to creating a just and harmonious society.”
REGIONAL SECURITY AND PARTNERSHIPS
Prime Minister Phillips stated that the Caribbean Community has identified four critical areas of security interest in 2022: firearms trafficking, cyber security, human trafficking, and maritime security, and has committed to strengthening relationships among member states to address these issues holistically.
As a result, the mandate of Exercise Tradewinds fits into this goal and the efforts to pursue effective and efficient collaborative alternatives will continue.
Noting how the advent of the digital age has affected the security of borders, the Prime Minister pointed out that now more than ever, collaborative efforts between countries are necessary if they are to confront the increasingly sophisticated security issues effectively.
“In today’s world, particularly with the advent of technology, many threats no longer recognise borders, which therefore begs the need for collaborative efforts between nations to address security challenges that transcend boundaries, such as terrorism, organised crime, cyber threats, and trafficking of illicit goods.”
The annual Tradewinds exercise, sponsored by US Southern Command, commenced on July 25th with the participation of more than 1,500 troops from 21 nations. This year’s event marked the third time it was held in Guyana.