Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Tradewinds 2023 Opening Ceremony
July 15, 2023
Captain Gerry Gouveia, Government of Guyana’s National Security Advisor,
Major General William L. Thigpen, Commanding General of U.S. Army South
Brigadier Omar Khan, Guyana Defence Force Chief of Staff,
Members of the Diplomatic Community,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honor to be here at Camp Ayanganna for the Tradewinds 2023 Opening Ceremony. Only two short years ago, the Government of Guyana graciously stepped up to host Tradewinds 2021 during a challenging pandemic environment. And what an event that was.
Today, TRADEWINDS retuns 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 tasks of building relationships, promoting regional inter-operability, and reinforcing the importance of security and stability in the Caribbean Region.
Tradewinds 2023, sponsored by U.S. Southern Command, will partner 1,500 security force personnel from 20 countries in a multi-dimensional exercise covering ground, air, sea, and cyber domains. The goal of this exercise is to improve the security responses of participating Caribbean nations and focus on skills-building in interdiction, security, and interagency cooperation. The participation of intergovernmental organizations such as Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Regional Security System, the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security, and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency is especially crucial to the success of this exercise.
I would also like to emphasize the importance of Human Rights and Women, Peace, and Security to Tradewinds. Respecting human rights and correctly applying gender considerations to military operations ensures that civilian populations remain safe and protected, even during periods of conflict or instability. In addition to training sessions on these two subjects, this year’s exercise has imbedded human rights and Women, Peace, and Security elements throughout the exercise, encouraging security forces to apply their knowledge of human rights and Women, Peace, and Security practically and in real-world scenarios.
Tradewinds also supports the long-term goal of economic development and prosperity, not only in Guyana, but the entire Caribbean region.
Ensuring security and stability, as well as responding to natural disasters, will continue to foster an environment where citizens feel safe in their homes, and more willing to invest in their futures.
So I congratulate the Government of Guyana, and particularly the Guyana Defence Force, under the exceptional leadership of Brigadier Khan, on the exceptional job they have done preparing for this exercise, just two short years since Tradewinds 2021. I would also like to thank U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Army South for much-valued assistance they provided in planning and supporting this exercise.
I don’t know if I’ll make it out to the shooting range or the Jungle and Amphibious Training Center this time around, but if I do, I will see you there! Here’s to a successful and safe Tradewinds exercise!