SPEECH | April 27, 2018

Adm. Tidd Opening Statement at Trinidad & Tobago press briefing, April 26

Commander of U.S. Southern Command, Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, Press Statement

Wednesday, April 26, 2018, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago


Good afternoon.

I’d like to thank Minister Dillon, the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forces, and the people of this beautiful island nation for affording me this opportunity to return. I always cherish the chance to meet good friends, but what I value most about this visit is the opportunity to listen to our trusted and respected partners. I appreciate their candor and willingness to share what they think, what they know, what they aim to achieve, and how they think we can successfully work together, like we have during this year's  Fused Response exercise. I want to commend the men and women of the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of National Security, Police Service, and Defence Forces for their outstanding work in planning and hosting the exercise.   

It is another great example of this nation's leadership in the Caribbean, demonstrable commitment to this region's security, and tangible contributions to its stability. It is also an example of the longstanding bilateral defense partnership between our countries, which supports our common interests and addresses challenges of mutual concern. Chief among those challenges are threat networks that span the globe, undermining citizen security, threatening communities, eroding the rule of law, and placing unforseeable financial burdens on our countries.

Here too, Trinidad and Tobago is a committed partner, making important and lasting contributions with 19 additional nations who work alongside us at the Joint Interagency Task Force in Key West, Florida, to disrupt and dismantle those threat networks. Last year, you'll recall Trinidad and Tobago's Coast Guard contributed to the largest cocaine seizure in the Atlantic in almost two decades.

Those kinds of successes can only be achieved when we work together and share information. For our cooperation to succeed in achieving lasting successes, it must be supported by a network of committed nations, all contributing whole-of-government capabilities and knowledge in pursuit of a common understanding of threats and a collective ability to detect, track, and defeat them. That cooperation begins by building partnerships; those partnerships begin by building friendships; and those friendships begin during exercises like Fused Response.  

So I am happy to be here once more -- as a neighbor, partner and friend - to thank you for helping us strengthen our security cooperation as the host for fused response and as an important contributor to this region's security. Thank you.