St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force officers hold meeting with US military

ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 10TH 2010 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force officers are in St. Lucia to discuss areas in which the United State can assist the twin-island Federation.

Colonel Patrick Wallace, Major Leroy Percival and Major Cornell Kelly are among heads of security operations in the six Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries that are part of the RSS along with United States military officers. Barbados is the other member of the RSS.

Chief of the US Military Liaison Office at the US Embassy in Bridgetown, Commander Edward Gaynor, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the meeting provides RSS member countries a chance to decide which programmes initiated by Washington that they wish to participate.

“They would be deciding what individual schools they wanted to send members to and where exactly they wanted to spend the military financing that the US government gives to them,” he said. The US Military Liaison Office is playing a lead role in arranging the gathering. “We’re just trying to coordinate activities and this is the best and most efficient way of doing it.

At this conference we bring in experts in different programme areas from our parent organisation, Southern Command, and other agencies in the US that work in the region. So we bring them down and they speak on behalf of the programmes that they run and manage,” said Lieutenant David Tavares of the US Military Liaison Office, the coordinator of the three-day meeting.

Tavares said his office will also hold meetings with the individual country representatives and work hand-in-hand to determine where assistance can be provided in terms of security cooperation. “Some of these areas are foreign military financing, international military education and training, the sea partnership programme and the traditional Commander’s activities. So it’s a very key fundamental conference in my mind,” the US military official said.

Tavares said the meeting would also talk about upcoming exercises and engagements that were going on throughout the region. He said that two US naval ships will visit the region this year two and in light of that, this week’s conference was determined to be the best way to brief everybody all at once “and try to synergise our efforts.”

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