SOUTHCOM Commander Gen. Laura Richardson is in Barbados to meet with regional security leaders during CANSEC22, the Caribbean Nations Security Conference. [Image courtesy U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Facebook]

Regional security issues are high on the agenda as the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and the Barbados Defence Force co-host the Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC), between April 5th and 7th, in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Trinidad and Tobago will participate in the conference.

An official statement from the Barbados Defence Force notes the theme for this year’s conference is Multinational Cooperation In A Changing Operational Environment

The CANSEC 22’s opening ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday April 6th, and it can be viewed on the Barbados Government Information Service YouTube page, with a direct link from the prime minister’s web page

Feature speakers include U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere, Daniel Erickson; SOUTHCOM Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Laura Richardson; Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley SC MP; and Barbados Defence Force Chief of Staff, Commodore Errington Shurland.

“Now in its 24th year, the conference has a strong history of promoting regional and hemispheric security cooperation in the Caribbean basin, as well as other important global networks of cooperation,” the release from the Barbados Defence Force explains.

“CANSEC 22 aims to promote regional and hemispheric security cooperation through expanding networks and to build enduring partnerships among military, industry and government officials,” the release added.

A hybrid approach is being adopted with regard to staging the conference.  The focus will be on:

●   Regional Security. Participants will discuss and identify best practices and opportunities in regional coordination to counter transnational threats impacting the Blue Economy; counter-terrorism initiatives; and counter-illicit flows operations.

●   Coordination for regional Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR), with discussions focussing on established procedures or processes for responding to a HADR scenario across the region and lessons from past HADR events.

Graphic by U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs.

Participating countries include Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States. 

Canada, France, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mexico, and the United Kingdom also have been invited to participate in the conference.

Several regional security agencies also will be in attendance: Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Caribbean Community’s Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS), Regional Security System (Eastern Caribbean), and the Inter-American Defense Board (Organization of American States).

According to the Barbados Defence Force, Barbados last hosted the conference in 2004.  The conference itself annually brings together 150 -180 senior defence and security officials with industry representatives to security matters. The conference includes sessions dealing with issues pertinent to hemispheric security, as well as sessions and panel discussions that assess region-specific and national case studies.