Remarks as prepared
Commander, U.S. Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller
Joint Press Conference
January 12, 2021
Good afternoon and thank you for being here today.
This is a day in which we mark another pivotal step forward in the enduring partnership between the United States and Guyana.
This visit builds on the momentum gained by Secretary of State Pompeo and the us international development finance corporation’s recent visits here – and reinforces the us commitment to our shared regional security and the prosperity of the Guyanese people.
The acquisition and cross servicing agreement we signed today, streamlines how our governments efficiently exchange goods or services to support effective – and mutually-beneficial – defense cooperation. With this agreement, we are entering a new era of defense partnership that will strengthen regional stability.
For half a century, our countries have built a bond of friendship, the kind that you find among neighbors with shared values; and that is what we are – neighbors who share a history, culture, and a commitment to democracy.
This past year, our partnership has proven crucial in countering new and unexpected challenges, of a scale and magnitude not experienced in a century.
The covid-19 pandemic has inflicted pain and devastation throughout our region and the world. In our hemisphere alone, over 700,000 lives have been tragically lost to this virus.
Across the Latin American and Caribbean regions, when our partners asked – the U.S. responded. The united states has been the largest donor of COVID related humanitarian assistance. To date, SOUTHCOM has donated eight projects totaling $155 thousand to guyana, and more than $33 million to the region. While the U.S. Government has committed more than $220 million to the region.
Additionally, despite COVID, the united states stepped up with enhanced operations against transnational criminal organizations along with other regional and international offices and partners.
That is why we are here, in the dawn of a new year, as partners and fellow champions of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and security. As i stand here with president Ali, Brigadier Bess, and Ambassador Lynch, i am reminded that cooperation is the key to success against every challenge that we face.
What does cooperation look like?
It’s the participation of Guyanese officers in our training and military education programs. It’s the partnership between guyana and the Florida national guard. Guyana participates in Tradewinds — an annual multinational exercise that focuses on disaster preparedness and Caribbean security. Guyana supports the ongoing maritime security efforts to counter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as part of operation southern cross, and we partner to strengthen regional security through the Caribbean basin security initiative.
It’s the shared importance we place on the equal opportunity and advancement of women in peace and security. It’s the donation of protective equipment and medical supplies to Guyanese citizens on the front lines fighting COVID, and the more than 1.5 million dollars worth of disaster mitigation and preparedness equipment provided to guyana through SOUTHCOM’s humanitarian assistance program.
It’s the bilateral ship-rider agreement between the us and guyana, which will enable joint maritime and airspace patrols to interdict narcotics.
And now, it is this acquisition and cross servicing agreement, which will allow us to strengthen our cooperation even further.
We are strongest together, and i am certain that together there is no challenge or threat to our shared security that we cannot face.
I am proud of the work we’ve done, and i look forward to our continued cooperation as partners, as neighbors and friends, and most importantly, as teammates as we face future challenges together.