Admiral in charge of US Southern Command to visit Guyana next week

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Commander of the United States’ Southern Command, Navy Admiral Craig Faller, will visit Guyana between January 11-13.

During his stay, he will meet with Government and defence leaders to discuss the bilateral security partnership between the United States and Guyana.

Admiral Faller is also scheduled to meet with President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces Irfaan Ali and Guyana Defence Force’s Chief of Staff, Brigadier Godfrey Bess.

United States’ Southern Command, Navy Admiral Craig Faller

He will also take part in the signing of an Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement between the two countries’ militaries, which will pave the way for the exchange of goods or services of equal value to support future bilateral defence cooperation.

The United States and Guyana have a longstanding history of security cooperation. The defence partnership between the two countries includes collaboration against regional threats and challenges, capacity-building engagements, bilateral training, expertise exchanges, exercises, and participation in military education programs.

During the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit in September 2020, the two countries signed a Shiprider agreement which allows for maritime cooperation between the two countries.

US Southern Command’s top military leader last visited the country in 2017, when Guyana became the first South American nation to host the Caribbean Nations Security Conference.

The command is one of the US Department of Defense’s six geographically-focused unified commands with responsibility for US military operations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America, as well as security cooperation with defence and public-security forces in the region.

GDF Coast Guard and United States Coast Guard is scheduled to commence the first of a series of joint exercises as part of the operationalisation of the Shiprider Agreement ratified by the two countries in 2020.

This exercise will take place off the coast of Guyana and will focus mainly on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

US Coast Guard Cutter STONE vessel

It will be conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter STONE vessel, which is currently in the region for a multi-country tour.

USCGC Stone is a Legend-class cutter, considered one of the most technologically advanced ships in the US Coast Guard’s fleet with a range of 12,000 nautical miles. They usually measure 127 metres, with a 54-foot beam (width at the widest point of the ship) and can reach a top speed of over 28 knots.

The ship will be on a multi-month deployment to the South Atlantic Ocean and will be tasked with countering illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing, while also strengthening relationships for maritime sovereignty and security throughout the region.

This is the service’s “first patrol to South America in recent memory, and is being undertaken with support from Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Portugal.