Thursday 22 August, 2019

T&T, US Embassy team up for crisis response exercise

US Embassy for Trinidad and Tobago and security agencies of the Trinidad and Tobago government will be collaborating to host a bilateral crisis response training exercise entitled Fused Response 2018.

The Ministry of National Security said in a statement that the exercise is designed to help with the country's response to security challenges such as natural disasters and combat transnational challenges, including terrorism, illicit trafficking, and organized crime.

The exercise, which will take place from April 16-26, is being coordinated by the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (TTDF), Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), and the U.S. Southern Command to improve skills in areas such as communications and planning.

Although the exercise begins from April 16, U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires, John McIntyre, said that personnel will begin to arrive prior to that date. 

He added that the exercise is separate from recent alleged terror threats during Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival 2018 celebrations. 

"In the interest of violent extremism, that is something that's always ongoing. The carnival threat is a different issue. This is about planning for a crisis, about working together in a bilateral relationship," he said.

Exercises will be carried out at the Piarco International Airport, Cumuto, Couva, Maqueripe, and the ANR Robinson International Airport in Tobago. 

McIntyre added that the exercise is limited to areas within Trinidad and Tobago only. 

Exercise Fused Response is a simulation exercise designed to build capacity and strengthen capabilities in Trinidad and Tobago, using a Whole of Government approach to crisis management.

The Ministry said through this exercise, government will be able to test the country’s emergency response plans, validate processes, and identify any possible gaps.

"Exercise Fused Response will serve as a learning opportunity for both countries, as it will enhance the ability of both Governments to coordinate and rapidly respond together to a crisis with regional implications," the Ministry said. 

Speaking on Friday at a joint media conference announcing the start of the Exercise, Minister of National Security Major General (Ret’d) the Honourable Edmund Dillon expressed appreciation to the US Government for its continued partnership with Trinidad and Tobago.

“We appreciate all opportunities to work closer with our international partners and share best practices through training exercises such as this one, which will undoubtedly redound to the greater benefit of our country and region as a whole," he said. 

McIntyre reiterated his Government’s commitment to work collaboratively with Trinidad and Tobago and the region on emergency preparedness and citizen security.

Exercise Fused Response is an annual routine exercise that has been sponsored by the US Government via the US Southern Command since 2012.

Similar exercises have been hosted over the years in the region. Trinidad and Tobago accepted an invitation offered by the US Government in 2017 for this country to host Exercise Fused Response 2018.

While the Exercise is set to roll out in April 2018, planning and coordination have been in training for many months in advance.

The Ministry said the exercise is being funded by the US Government, with minimal cost to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.


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