News Release: WARWICK CAMP, Bermuda – Soldiers participating in TRADEWINDS 23 welcomed Her Excellency the Governor, Rena Lalgie, and Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, at Camp Seweyo, in Guyana, on July 25, 2023.
The visit provided an opportunity for troops to share what they have learned in the exercise, which was designed to strengthen partnerships in the Caribbean region and increase interoperability.
After being greeted by a Guyana Defence Force guard of honor, Ms Lalgie and Mr Weeks toured the base, listened in on lessons and saw troops from the Royal Bermuda Regiment and the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Regiment perform a deliberate attack drill at the camp’s vast firing range.
RBR Platoon and the Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment perform continuous shooting drills at Camp Seweyo, Guyana
Ms Lalgie said that as Commander-in-Chief of the RBR, it is important for her to understand its work.
She added: “It’s really a privilege for me to come out and see what the soldiers are doing.
The Governor said: “People sometimes ask about the value of these exercises – of doing things that we are unlikely to be called upon to do in Bermuda – but there is something about building the relationships between the different regiments and defence forces in the region.
“I will wholeheartedly support anything which is about trying to make sure that these international partnerships are there.”
Major Duncan Simons, of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, greets Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, at Camp Seweyo
She highlighted that other nations in the region might have thousands of people in their battalions compared to about 300 in the RBR.
Ms Lalgie added: “They understand that none of us is able to stand alone. Setting the interoperability in an exercise scenario will ready us for those real life scenarios that will happen.”
Having spoken to soldiers from Bermuda and other countries, the Governorsaid: “They are talking about how much they’ve learned.
“It is clear that they are learning not just new skills for themselves but how to work together across different defence forces.”
In addition to members of the TCI Regiment, troops from Jamaica and Suriname have swelled RBR ranks for the exercise.
Troops from the Royal Bermuda Regiment and the Turks & Caicos Islands Regiment in an enemy contact drill on the range at Camp Seweyo, Guyana
Mr Weeks said: “I came to see what our young men and women are doing in this camp and to support them as well as the joint team from the various countries.”
The minister added: “It was good seeing the enthusiasm, the passion and the way they interact, despite the heat; it has been very hot and humid, but I liked the attitude.”
He continued: “One of the other things I really wanted to see was how we are preparing in terms of regional security for natural disasters or civil disturbance.
“I found it interesting to see how forces all come together because it’s always good to have that capability before we need it.”
Staff Sergeant Barbara Guishard, of the Virgin Islands National Guard, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the 640th Field Feeding team, with Rena Lalgie, the Governor, at Camp Seweyo, Guyana
Major Duncan Simons, the Royal Bermuda Regiment Officer Commanding B Company and the officer in charge of the RBR’s TRADEWINDS 23 company, said: “Participating in TRADEWINDS has presented the Regiment with an opportunity to engage with nations across the region and supported regional interoperability.
“The training has primarily been delivered by the US, in our case working with the Security Force Assistance Brigades.
“With the support of SFAB and the US Marine Corps, we have been able totake on training – particularly weapons training – that’s not available on the same scale and at the same distances in Bermuda.”
Maj Simons said TRADEWINDS gave soldiers a chance to hone core skills and drills with instructors from other forces, which provides different perspectives.
He added: “It’s always great when the leadership pays a visit and is able to acknowledge the hard work and efforts that our soldiers put in; the soldiers certainly appreciate that.”Maj Simons said: “When they have a chat with the Governor or the Minister, it provides an opportunity for them to talk about what they’re doing.“For soldiers to have that face time is valuable.”
Top Feature Photo: Rena Lalgie, the Governor, receives a salute from members of the Guyana Defence Force upon arrival at Camp Seweyo, Guyana
Rena Lalgie, the Governor, and Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security joined the Royal Bermuda Regiment and the Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment for a platoon photo on the range at Camp Seweyo, Guyana