By Sheena Forde-Craigg
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (BGIS) — The security cooperation between the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) and the United States (US) Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) will be enhanced and continued.
This was disclosed at a press conference with Commander of US SOUTHCOM, US Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, and Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, Colonel Glyne Grannum, at the ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade, to highlight the cooperation that exists between the BDF and SOUTHCOM.
Colonel Grannum noted that four decades of security cooperation exist between the two countries and it is a relationship that has been beneficial to Barbados.
“Barbados and the Barbados Defence Force have enjoyed long and mutually beneficial relations, in terms of developing capacity, and most importantly the operational readiness, the operational response in terms of our shared and security interests,” Colonel Grannum stated.
He expressed to Admiral Faller that he was pleased to receive such a significant visit at this time, and to have the opportunity to discuss matters of mutual security interest, such as the operations of the Regional Security System (RSS), CARICOM Impacs, transnational criminal organisations, drug trafficking, and terrorism, as well as other issues, including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chief of Staff also explained that in collaboration with SOUTHCOM, there is an ongoing programme of training for operational readiness and the sharing of data and graphics to assess any threats as they develop, so that action could be taken, whether it is by the BDF alone, or in partnership with elements from the Southern Command. This collaboration, Colonel Grannum stressed, places the BDF at a higher state of readiness.
With regard to the expectation of future collaboration between the BDF and SOUTHCOM, Colonel Grannum shared that the two entities would not “rest on our laurels and successes of the past” and would work on developing ways to deal with multiple threats that may occur in simultaneous waves, whether here in Barbados or the region.
“I’m absolutely confident in the partnership between ourselves and Southern Command … and to bring that whole community of effort, that whole joint interagency, multinational fabric together, not just to provide a timely response, but those things that can be mitigated beforehand to make sure we attend to those as well,” Colonel Grannum emphasised.
Admiral Faller stated: “It is an honour to be here in Barbados. It is an important and vital security partner to the United States and to the United States Southern Command. I’ve been in my job, nearly three years, and I’ve had a number of important interactions with the colonel and I value the professionalism of the Barbados Defence Force, the BDF is a very professional force.
“They’re trained and they’re skilled, and they’ve responded and proven to be extremely capable partners. It’s an important visit for United States Southern Command, we’re working here with our team in the US Embassy to strengthen our relationship.”
In addition, the Admiral noted that there is “good history” between the BDF and SOUTHCOM, and they are “working hard together to make a difference in these transnational threats”.
“We’re talking about what we do, results, and how we make a difference in developed programmes to ensure that the next generation tomorrow and in the future, is safer and has better security and better freedom and prosperity. […]
“Relationships only go in one or two directions and we’re planning to make this stronger by investing time in education, through professional military education and programmes we have in the United States and here in the region, and through our exercise programme, where we actually practise what we learn and teach in the classroom,” Admiral Faller said.
SOUTHCOM, in addition to assisting with matters of security, has had a long-standing history of supporting US foreign disaster assistance to Caribbean countries impacted by disasters and life-threatening emergencies.