Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 02, 2017 (SKNIS): The St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Board met on Saturday April 1 to discuss important matters to the development and upkeep of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF). The Board had not met for several years and has pledged to meet regularly. The Board had its first meeting under the Team Unity Administration on January 21, 2016.
The four member Defence Board comprises of Chairman, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris; Attorney General, the Honourable Vincent Byron Jr; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, who is by law secretary of the Board, Mr. Osmond Petty, and Commander of the SKNDF, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Wallace.
Lieutenant Colonel Wallace said that some of the matters discussed at the board meeting included promotion, training, complaints and support to the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force.
According to Mr. Petty, other matters on the agenda that were discussed included personnel matters and the establishment of a Commission Board that will be responsible for making recommendation to the governor general regarding persons to be rewarded a commission. He also reported that twenty-six (26) recruits were recently accepted for training in the SKNDF.
Mr. Petty also mentioned that the 34rd Annual Tradewinds Regional Training Exercise will be hosted in St. Kitts in 2018, which will afford local security forces to benefit from training in areas such as disaster relief/emergency response; land and maritime threats, including illicit drug trafficking; marksmanship and weapons handling skills; and military support to law enforcement. He said that this is an opportunity for the security forces to build capacity and for security officers to build life-long friendships with service members from other countries.
Additionally, Mr. Petty said that plans are afoot to link the SKNDF to the Guyana Defence Force for greater collaboration in training and similar exercises.
The Defence Board is a requirement of the St. Christopher and Nevis Defence Force Act, Chapter 19.14 of the revised laws of St. Christopher and Nevis. The revised date of the Act is December 2009. The primary function of the Board is to provide support in the running of the SKNDF, which comprises the Infantry and the Coast Guard. The Board has oversight for all the activities of the SKNDF.
Tradewinds is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-directed, U.S. Southern Command-Sponsored annual exercise conducted in cooperation with Caribbean Basin partner nations. Tradewinds supports the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), as well as U.S. Southern Command’s theater security engagement goal of building partner nation capacity at the tactical and operational levels. The exercise is designed to conduct joint, combined and interagency training, which focuses on increasing regional cooperation for complex multinational security operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations. The training is done in collaboration with the Allied Nations including the United Kingdom, Canada, France, the Netherlands and Suriname.