Barbados and the US have again been discussing security cooperation and illegal drugs.
The issues emerged during an official visit to the island today by Commander of the US Southern Command, US Marine Corps General, John Kelly.
Kelly held talks with Barbados Defence Force Chief of Staff, Colonel Alvin Quintyne and Regional Security System Coordinator, Grantley Watson. They examined topics of mutual interest such as transnational threats and the Caribbean’s counter illicit trafficking strategy.
“The US enjoys a strong defence partnership with Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, strengthened over many years of active engagement and collaboration in support of shared security goals,” stated a release from the US Embassy today.
“Chief among those shared goals is an interest in disrupting the increasingly sophisticated networks and operations of transnational criminal organisations, as well as the illicit trafficking of drugs, money, arms and people,” it added.
The embassy noted that US security assistance to the region has focussed on helping Caribbean partners build and sustain key maritime, air and ground capabilities through training events, workshops, subject matter expert exchanges and infrastructure improvements.
At the American Embassy in Bridgetown, Kelly and Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Larry Palmer, discussed US Southern Command’s support to the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative and to US relations with Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
The top American defence official’s first visit to Barbados also included tours of the BDF’s headquarters, St. Ann’s Fort, the Garrison and the RSS air wing.
At St.Ann’s Fort, a guard of honour was mounted for him and on his arrival this afternoon, the general was accorded a general salute, after which he inspected the honour guard. Also on hand were Quintyne, other senior military officers as well as senior embassy officials.
The Marine Corps Commander leaves Barbados tomorrow for the Dominican Republic before returning to the US Southern Command headquarters in Miami, Florida. (EJ)