President Dr Irfaan Ali has hailed a success the tactical exercise of Operation Tradewinds 2021, conducted on Wednesday at the Yarrowkabra Range on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.
During the adrenaline-packed simulation, the ranks showcased their tactical abilities and demonstrated the skills learnt over the past two weeks. The demonstration culminated with three Black Hawk helicopters swooping down to ferry the ranks to safety, signalling a successful extraction of the troops.
The Head of State, who was accompanied by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Chief of Staff Brigadier Godfrey Bess, National Security Advisor Captain Gerry Gouveia, and other military officials from participating countries, including the United States, applauded the performance.
“I want to thank you guys. I think this was a great exercise,” the Commander-in- Chief was quoted by Office of the President’s Public Information and Press Services Unit as saying.
President Ali pointed to the importance of strengthening the decision-making capabilities of the ranks in the fields, which he said would allow them to strategise better, and respond better to a range of scenarios.
The Head of State added that the strategies and teamwork executed by the ranks are needed to combat the changing nature of crime in the region.
Prior to arriving at Yarrowkabra, the Commander-in-Chief had stopped at the Ramada Princess Hotel, where he was given an administrative and logistical briefing on the two-week operation. He was also provided with a situation update on two enemies’ courses of action, as well as three friendly forces’ courses of action by several staff officers.
After the briefing, he lauded the ranks for the successful execution of Operation Tradewinds, given the COVID-19 environment in which they operated.
“I would like to see at the end of the exercise, the heads come together and maybe develop a manual as to how you did it in such an environment for future exercises, and out of that you can develop a master plan of best practices in operating and working in an environment that we are in right now.”
This, he added, would be a critical, progressive and visionary outcome of the exercise, and would pave the way for future exercises.
Tradewinds is a US Southern Command-sponsored combined joint exercise conducted with partner nations to enhance the collective ability of defence forces and constabularies to counter transnational criminal organisations, conduct humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief operations.
Tradewinds exercises also help to develop strong relationships and reinforce human rights awareness. This exercise dates back to the mid-1980s.
Representatives from the United States and 12 partner nations, including host nation Guyana, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Netherlands, Brazil, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are participating in the 36th iteration of Tradewinds. The exercise commenced on June 12 and is scheduled to run until June 25.
As hosts, 350 ranks from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) were trained in various military skills, including close-quarters combat.
Local ranks have also been trained in marksmanship, emergency medical evacuation, search-and-rescue and recovery responses, and mechanical and engineering repairs for both air and water transportation, among other areas.