Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Closing Ceremony of Tradewinds Exercise 2021
June 25, 2021
Honorable Prime Minister of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana Mark Phillips;
Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defense Force, Brigadier Godfrey Bess;
Deputy Commander for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs, U.S. Southern Command,
Major General Rafael A. Ribas;
Members of the military from partner nations;
Members of the diplomatic corps;
Members of the media;
Ladies and Gentlemen – Good Morning!
It is with great pride that I address you here today, on the occasion of the closing ceremony for Tradewinds 2021. For the past two weeks, over a dozen partner nations have come together from across the globe, taking part in training exercises and building strong relationships and expertise. You have been everywhere – on land, at sea, in the air, and even in cyberspace. I think we all know that our security and prosperity in this region are inextricably linked, and an exercise like Tradewinds helps us demonstrate our ability to work together across multiple domains.
I, for one, was thrilled when Guyana raised its hand to host Tradewinds this year after Barbados was unable to do so. At Camp Stephenson, I saw first-hand how these exercises provide a unique opportunity for participating nations to improve interoperability and effectively execute missions together, including humanitarian assistance and disaster response. At the Jungle and Amphibious Training School, I saw first-hand how our nations learned from each other about everything from executing tactical operations to mapping strategic maneuvers. And this year, you met these objectives despite the continued presence of COVID-19 and the need to adhere to stringent safety protocols. You ALL should be extraordinarily proud of this achievement.
Importantly, the nations represented here today share a common commitment to the respect for human rights and promoting stable, secure, and prosperous democracies. And I was so pleased to learn that, for the first time ever, there was a component added to Tradewinds on Women, Peace and Security to further highlight the meaningful role that women around the globe play in conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict resolution.
I want to sincerely thank our hosts, the Government of Guyana, the Guyana Police Force and, especially, the Guyana Defence Force, led by Brigadier Bess, for your readiness, your professionalism, and of course, your well-known Guyanese hospitality. The United States values the strong relationships that have been forged during Tradewinds 2021, and I know that SOUTHCOM is committed to building and sustaining enduring relationships with all participating nations.
In the coming weeks, there will be an after-action review workshop to discuss future training opportunities, as the U.S. will continue its commitment to Guyana’s regional security and the security of the region. I believe the workshop will show that our investments in the people, the assets and the time it took to make Tradewinds 2021 a success will pay off several times over in the event of a crisis or disaster in our region. We know that the new skills learned, the key techniques shared and the relationships fostered over the last two weeks will help us work better together today and in the future, and potentially save the lives of our friends and neighbors in the region.
I want to thank all partner nation security and civilian personnel involved in planning and participating in the exercise. While Guyana was host, I want to acknowledge the exercises themselves as an outstanding model of ongoing international cooperation. I want to give a special shout-out to the U.S. military for demonstrating to our partners as well as our adversaries that we can collectively conduct critical security cooperation operations, even in a pandemic environment. These regional and interagency partnerships reflect our enduring promise to one another for a cooperative, prosperous, and secure hemisphere.
Congratulations to Guyana and all our partner nations on executing a highly successful Tradewinds 2021!!
Thank you very much.