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Exercise Tradewinds 2018 success encourages officials to budget it in 2019

Captain Kayode Sutton

BASSATERRE, St. Kitts – Agreement has been reached between St. Kitts and Nevis and US officials that due to the success of Exercise Tradewinds 2018 the event will be planned again next year. The multi-national exercise was held here June 4 to 12; in 2019 it will take place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Dominican Republic.

This was echoed by Captain Kayode Sutton of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) during the Tradewinds 2018 After Action Review meeting.

“The feedback that we got from the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) members that were here is that the model of Tradewinds for St. Kitts and Nevis is ideal,” Captain Sutton said. “It worked and as a matter of fact we have also been looked at to help the next country that will be hosting Tradewinds along the way so that we can share all the lessons learned and the best practices that we got along the way.”

Captain Sutton said for future hosting the only thing that will need improvement is the communication cycle, as there were some oversights regarding communication.

Reflecting on Phase one of the exercise, Captain Sutton noted that Tradewinds 2018 in St. Kitts and Nevis was a huge success as all the training and national objectives that were set in the planning processes of the exercise were realized.

“The opportunity for St. Kitts and Nevis to host Tradewinds was a very good one,” Captain Sutton explained. “We have been able to put to the test the different processes that we have to respond to and the different emergencies and operations. We also got exposure to new techniques in dealing with situations in doing things. Our soldiers are more equipped with their tactics and skills because the range exercise that they were engaged in provided a significant success to our capacity development.”

He added that the range exercise was extremely helpful given the fact that it provided an opportunity for soldiers to be able to shoot in excess of 90,000 rounds a day.

“You could tell from their feedback that they enjoyed it and they were able to apply their marksmanship principles as they have learned it and better sharpen their skills,” Captain Sutton said.

He said practice during phase one of the exercise worked well.

“The processes that we had to deal with situations… for example, the disaster relief operations worked, also the processes that we had to respond to emergencies, be it security or search and rescue operations worked as well,” Captain Sutton concluded. “We were however, able to realize certain gaps within the processes during the execution of the exercise that we will have to work on to bring it up-to-date so that in a real life situation we have everything working.”

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