Minister On Soldiers At Exercise Tradewinds

July 13, 2019 | 1 Comment

Minister of National Security Wayne Caines provided an update on Bermuda’s involvement with Exercise Tradewinds in the House of Assembly.

Minister Caines said, “Exercise Tradewinds, organized by the US Southern Command of the United States Military, was a joint international disaster relief exercise in the Caribbean.

“The 22 countries represented were: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“The Royal Bermuda Regiment [RBR] deployed about 120 soldiers from B Company for this exercise. RBR troops from Logistics Company installed high intensity security lights at a free public clinic. The clinic had been repeatedly targeted by thieves who stole computers and drugs.

“Our soldiers cut down trees that hid the clinic from the nearby road, installed barbed wire fencing, and repainted the building inside and out. St. Vincent’s Minister of Health, Luke Brown, thanked the soldiers for their community assistance and outreach.

“The soldiers also assisted the country’s Forestry Department by cutting back trees that overhung above-ground power cables on Lacroix Road in the Mesopotamia area of the country. The RBR also donated 30 sets of public order kit, including shields and protective gear, to the Royal St Vincent & the Grenadines Police.

“The men and women of the RBR represent the best of Bermuda. I was pleased to see them standing as equals amongst soldiers from larger jurisdictions. I am confident that Exercise Tradewinds not only provided the RBR with valuable security and disaster relief skills, but also showed the soldiers that the time that they volunteer with the RBR makes a valuable difference abroad and especially at home.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to provide this Honourable House with a further update on Exercise Tradewinds. Honourable Members will recall that Exercise Tradewinds, organized by the US Southern Command of the United States Military, was a joint international disaster relief exercise in the Caribbean. The 22 countries represented were: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States. The exercise was designed to build increased regional cooperation in complex multinational security operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

Mr. Speaker, Tradewinds Phase One was a security based exercise that took place in the Dominican Republic. Phase Two, which will be the subject of my update today, focused on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Recovery, and took place in St. Vincent.

Mr. Speaker, the Royal Bermuda Regiment [RBR] deployed about 120 soldiers from B Company for this exercise. RBR troops from Logistics Company installed high intensity security lights at a free public clinic. The clinic had been repeatedly targeted by thieves who stole computers and drugs. Our soldiers cut down trees that hid the clinic from the nearby road, installed barbed wire fencing, and repainted the building inside and out. St. Vincent’s Minister of Health, Luke Brown, thanked the soldiers for their community assistance and outreach.

Mr. Speaker, the soldiers also assisted the country’s Forestry Department by cutting back trees that overhung above-ground power cables on Lacroix Road in the Mesopotamia area of the country. The RBR also donated 30 sets of public order kit, including shields and protective gear, to the Royal St Vincent & the Grenadines Police.

Mr. Speaker, this exercise provided a valuable training opportunity for the RBR. Soldiers had the opportunity to work in the Caribbean Task Force [CTF] Headquarters, allowing for the command and control element of disaster response to be developed. This element is essential to our on island response and operations. The soldiers from B Company worked as a formed sub-unit under the CTF, exercising their ability to work in tandem with other agencies. This is relevant in Bermuda when working alongside the Bermuda Police Service or other uniformed services.

Mr. Speaker, the scope of Exercise Tradewinds meant that the RBR worked alongside partner countries and had the opportunity to learn and also confirm its ability to perform well in an international context. Senior Military officers from Canada, the US and even Columbia spoke highly of our competency and professionalism displayed in St. Vincent. RBR Second in Command, Maj. Ben Beasley said: “The RBR has far exceeded expectations and they have risen to a level they perhaps didn’t believe they could achieve. Tradewinds not only confirms our capabilities, it has expanded them and demonstrated to our regional partners our high level of competency.”

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to join the RBR personnel in St. Vincent, along with the Permanent Secretary for National Security, Mr. Collin Anderson. During the tour, we visited RBR soldiers at base camp, and engaged with other regional leaders from the various military and law enforcement. Our tour of the St. Vincent Coast Guard facilities was a particular highlight. While at the Coast Guard facilities we were able to gather information that will be helpful as the Ministry of National Security and the RBR continue to develop Bermuda’s Coast Guard element.

Mr. Speaker, to conclude the trip, we attended the closing ceremonies of Exercise Tradewinds. The RBR’s presence and conduct in SVG earned the praise of the Acting Prime Minster Sir Louis Straker who said at the closing ceremony “Honourable mention must be made of the Government of Bermuda and the Royal Bermuda Regiment.”

Mr. Speaker, the men and women of the RBR represent the best of Bermuda. I was pleased to see them standing as equals amongst soldiers from larger jurisdictions. I am confident that Exercise Tradewinds not only provided the RBR with valuable security and disaster relief skills, but also showed the soldiers that the time that they volunteer with the RBR makes a valuable difference abroad and especially at home.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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  1. toadinthehole says:

    what I want to know is: is the now fully-volunteer regiment fully up to speed in terms of numbers?

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