Chiefs of Defence from Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, along with the UK, gathered in Antigua and Barbuda last month to discuss regional cooperation.
The gathering of Chiefs was augmented by virtual participation from Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, CARICOM IMPACS, CDEMA and the Regional Security System.
They agreed on a number of initiatives within training and education designed to improve collective capacity to deal with the security challenges that confront the region.
The Chiefs of Defence were very grateful to the Governor General and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda for participating in the conference.
The UK was very pleased to also be able to bring alongside in St John’s one of 2 British ships currently stationed in the region.
HMS MEDWAY, a River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel, is permanently assigned to the region and is active in countering illicit trafficking at sea, in working with allies and partners across the region, and in being prepared, along with RFA WAVE KNIGHT, to provide humanitarian support in response to crisis, especially during the hurricane season.
HMS MEDWAY was able to therefore host the final day of the conference, with the focus on maritime security discussions.
The Chiefs of Defence were also able to review the UK’s commitment to maritime security and disaster relief in the region, with an in-depth discussion of maritime issues.
Last year, HMS MEDWAY with RFA ARGUS seized narcotics with a UK street value of around XCD $1.4 trillion. They also provided support in the aftermath of Hurricane Eta.
This year, RFA WAVEKNIGHT has transported, on behalf of the Barbados government, 75T of humanitarian stores to St Vincent and the Grenadines, and has supported relief operations in Haiti following the earthquake.
The ship supported US helicopters and used the UK’s Wildcat helicopter to survey damage and move CDEMA personnel.
Most recently, the Wildcat helicopter has assisted with the installation of new volcanic monitoring equipment in St Vincent and the Grenadines, thereby replacing a vital capability lost during the previous eruptions.
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