U.S. Navy Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, visited Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados Aug. 10-13 to meet with leaders and regional organizations to discuss ongoing partnership efforts to counter security threats and strengthen regional humanitarian and disaster response.
Joining Faller were SOUTHCOM’s Civilian Deputy to the Commander Francisco (Paco) Palmieri and Command Senior Enlisted Leader, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Jones.
During the one-day visit to Trinidad and Tobago Aug. 10, Faller and team met with Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds, and Chief of Defence Staff of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, Air Commodore Darryl Daniel and Defence Force staff and leaders. The meetings focused on reaffirming both nations’ strong security partnership, including continued cooperation to counter transnational criminal organizations, support humanitarian assistance, prepare for natural disasters, advance the role of women in peace and security missions, and increase security capacity within the defense forces.
Also, while in Trinidad and Tobago, the admiral accompanied Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh on a visit to one of the two field hospitals SOUTHCOM’s Humanitarian Assistance Program donated to the country in May.
“As we walked through and heard the stories of lives saved and the difference that this hospital has made, it strikes me as not a donation but it’s an investment, it’s an investment in our shared security because health security is national security. It’s an investment in this hemisphere and in our shared vision for a secure, free, prosperous hemisphere,” Faller said.
To date, SOUTHCOM has donated 73 similar field hospitals to 25 Central and South American and Caribbean nations as part of the overall U.S. government effort to help the region fight COVID-19.
Following his trip to Trinidad and Tobago, Faller visited Barbados Aug. 10-13. The four-day visit included meetings with acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw and members of Barbados’ National Security Council, including Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Dr. Jerome Walcott, Minister of Health and Wellness Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams, and the Chief of Staff of the of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) Colonel Glyne Grannum.
During the meetings, Faller emphasized continued cooperation and discussed shared regional threats, including transnational criminal organizations, COVID-19 and natural disasters.
“Barbados… is an important and vital security partner to the United States and to the U.S. Southern Command,” Faller said following his meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. “I’ve had a number of important interactions with Col. Grannum, and I value the professionalism of the BDF. They know their training and skill, and they’ve responded and proven to be incredible partners.”
Faller also met with regional organizations to discuss cooperation.
On Aug. 11, the admiral met with leaders of the Regional Security System and the Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security, Lt. Col. Michael Jones. He also visited the headquarters of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Aug. 12 where he met with Executive Director Elizabeth Riley.
Faller also held a roundtable with security chiefs from across the Eastern Caribbean to discuss regional cooperation.