Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to inform this house about the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s involvement with Exercise Trade Winds. This Exercise is organized by the United States Military, specifically US Southern Command who are based in Florida. Trade Winds is a Caribbean-focused training exercise designed to help participant’s better respond to natural disasters, land and maritime threats. The Trade Winds event takes place in two phases. Phase one is a security based exercise and phase two is Humanitarian Assistance, Disaster Recovery which is also referred to as HADR.
I accompanied the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel David Curley and Regimental Seargent Major Jason Harrel along with Mr. Vernon Wears from the Department of National Security. Together we visited the opening ceremonies at Las Calderas Naval Base of Dominican Republic. We also visited the Opening ceremonies which included high level briefs by SOUTHCOM planners, organizers and lead staff.
Mr. Speaker, during the opening ceremony, the Royal Bermuda Regiment stood proudly amongst Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, The United Kingdom and The United States and were addressed by senior commanders from Dominican Republic and US Southcom in an opening address. After the opening remarks, all troops were on their way to conduct their rehearsals and equipment checks in order to prepare for the final test exercises in the Las Calderas area. Our Bermuda team were guests of Southcom and we were given dedicated briefs by Southcom Commanders, planners and exercise lead team members. Once the briefs were wrapped up, we went out to visit our Royal Bermuda Regiment staff in different locations.
Captain Gordon Emmerson and Colour Seargent Curtis Grant were using Explosive Ordinance Disposal charges and working with 24 Commando with tactics and operational plans. Major Beasley and Sargent Matvey received joint task force training in Circuit Military Cooperatives in order to support the test exercise at the end of the training phase. Sargent Husayn Muhammad worked with other national medics in receiving and teaching training.
Mr. Speaker, we were given a 2 day tour of Las Caladras where we were invited on a US Coast Guard cutter, a Canadian Patrol ship where we were given full briefings from the ships captains. We were given a full tour of Southcom logistics and saw special field kitchens established capable of feeding 600 troops in under an hour and saw re-supply of kit and equipment being used in this phase of the Exercise. Follow up briefings commenced with Trade Winds phase 2 which will be held in St Vincent and Grenadines where the Royal Bermuda Regiment will be the largest force participating in Humanitarian Aid Disaster Relief and security operations being tasked from a Caribbean Task Force. At the same time the entire camp was buzzing with troops loading into Black hawk helicopters, a small flight out into the ocean where they hovered a few meters above and then deployed naval marines and Special Forces units in to the water, very impressive to see.
Mr. Speaker, I will attend Phase 2 which will be held in St. Vincent & Grenadines along with The Ministry of National Security’s Permanent Secretary, Collinwood Anderson. Phase 2 will test the RBR in all aspects of training and ops and will strengthen our portfolio in all aspects of HADR which is crises management at all levels. There will be a closing ceremony that will end TW 19 and then RBR troops will fly back to Bermuda to enjoy a few days off before attending Warwick camp training again.
Mr. Speaker, Exercise Trade winds Phase 1 and 2 is a vital training and testing process for the Royal Bermuda Regiment which has Southcom credentials, the Royal Bermuda Regiment keep building in order to reinforce and maintain top level and new and improved HADR crises response to Bermuda and to the Caribbean if needed. The work of the RBR, is important and I believe they are receiving the adequate training to defend these shores.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.