Captain Kayode Sutton of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF)
Captain Kayode Sutton of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF)

Exercise Tradewinds 2018 in St. Kitts to zero in on best practices

From SKNIS

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Combating the ever-present threat to land and maritime is one topic that will be focused on during the upcoming 2018 Exercise Tradewinds, says Captain Kayode Sutton of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF), who is the chair of the local organizing committee for the event.

On the April 11 edition of “Working for You,” Captain Sutton said that the Caribbean region is mainly susceptible to threats from the sea. He added that the prominent threats in the Caribbean are narcotic trafficking, human trafficking and proliferation of small arms and ammunition.

“Basically, that is going to be the scope we will be focusing on,” he said. “We have put everything together under the title “Counter Threat Network” because the criminal elements do not operate in isolation. There is a network and we are well organized. So, we are going to be training, and learning from others, and exercising. We will also see the best practices that we can employ to deal with these emerging threats because they are getting more sophisticated as time goes by.”

Sutton noted that in recent years in the Caribbean, it was discovered that drugs are not only being transported by go-fast vessels, which was the traditional way, but now people are employing submarines.

“So, we have to be on top of our game to be able to counter it because we are very small communities,” he said. “And any destabilization that rocks the security of any of the Caribbean nations affects the whole of the region.”

He added that open sea borders pose quite a challenge to police. In terms of land threats, when dangers or disasters hit any country or any community there is no preference or priority in the occurrence sequence, said the captain. He added that during a hurricane, there is a lot of looting.

“So, you have to have presence out there and pre-landfall,” he said. “What do you do to prepare yourself? What do you do to sensitize the public so that you can prevent certain things from happening? There are times that there might have everything happening all together. You think you have something under control, then you feel the tremor. So, our job description is not strictly to security; we have to support NEMA.”

Captain Sutton said that the defense force works in collaboration with NEMA. “So, everything is interrelated,” he said. “So that is why I mentioned the word interoperability, which means everybody is kind of connected, and once you start to operate and you start to develop Standard Operation Procedures (SOP), you analyze from other people’s experiences like the larger forces including the United States, Canada, England and all that.”

The captain commented that the larger countries have seen their share of disasters and they will be able to share their experiences and how they have been able to develop the best practices to create their SOP. “Maybe their experiences cannot fit into our situation wholesale, but we will pick and choose and see what fits, what can work good for us because we don’t have the resources that those big countries have,” he said. “But we also want to live up to our mandate to ensure that the country is safe. The communities that we serve can rely on us and understand that they have the agencies out there that will protect and work for them when these security challenges or disasters hit.”