Exactly one month before Barbados hosts the local leg of Exercise Tradewinds 2017, organizers have stepped up their volunteer recruitment campaign for the June 6-12 event.
Exercise Tradewinds is an annual multi-agency, multinational security and disaster management exercise held in the region in partnership with the United States Southern Command. This year it will be co-hosted by Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Exercise Tradewinds Secretariat today held four volunteer recruitment drives at Independence Square, The City; Speightstown Esplanade; Emerald City Supermarket, Six Roads, St Philip; and Massy Supermarket, Oistins, Christ Church, which gave interested members of the public an opportunity to learn more about the event and their role as volunteers.
Maritime Lead Planner of the event, Lieutenant (Coast Guard) David Harewood, who was at Independence Square, told reporters this morning that at least 50 people had signed up so far, while another 40 had taken forms on behalf of friends and family.
“When we first came here within the first hour we had at least 20 persons who rushed the counter and were interested in finding out about the exercise and also to volunteer.
“I find what is interesting is that a lot of the Barbadian public, because of the aggressive PR campaign that we have going, are now getting to understand . . . what exercise Tradewinds is about, and they are now trying to get on board to be part of the exercise,” he said.
Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, and the Secretariat is aiming to recruit 1,200 individuals for the event, which will include land, sea and air activities. Once they sign up they will be subjected to a screening process before they can participate.
“Some of the areas that we’re gonna be using them in would be some of the events at sea, as well as some of the events that are happening on land. I don’t want to give away the plot too early, but there will actually be casualties, there will be a type of enemy force . . . being involved. So that we do not use the military [or] police to do their job and pretend that they are the casualties, so we’re using the volunteers this year,” Harewood said.
He added that the Secretariat will be hosting other recruitment drives in the lead up to the event, as well as town hall meetings to further sensitise the public.
Exercise Tradewinds 2017 will be held under the theme ‘A seamless states partnership for a secure region’. This year the focus will be on the region’s capacity to respond to a number of security threats, as well as natural disasters.
Member countries of the Regional Security System (RSS), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States will participate.