Code named Exercise Tradewinds, it is a United States military-led exercise within the Caribbean region which started in the mid-80s.
National Security Minister Edmund Dillon is assuring the public that there would be no restriction to their movements as most of the exercise would be carried out in the north-western part of the country, specifically Chaguaramas.
“You will see a number of troops from outside of TT and they would be wearing uniforms and carrying arms and that is done under our Visiting Forces Act.
When we held Cricket World Cup in TT and across the Caribbean in 2007, countries of the English-speaking Caribbean were asked to allow visiting troops to come into their country and bear arms and participate in exercises or in the event of security issues.
“TT was one of the countries that did not have that as sunset legislation and we have that in our books today. Some countries had it as sunset legislation which meant it died after Cricket World Cup.
All that is required of us is to ensure that we list the countries and, under the Visiting Forces Act, they would be able to bear arms,” Dillon said during a news conference held yesterday at the National Security Ministry, Temple Court, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain.
He added it was not a classified exercise as the troops would not be using live ammunition and that it was a simulated exercise.
Dillon said the exercise was a multi-national maritime security exercise treating with both maritime security issues and disaster response issues.
Involved are 20 partnering nations including Bermuda, Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts/ Nevis, Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, Surinam and Guyana.
He said there would also be international assistance and participation by the US, Canada, France, Netherlands and Mexico.
The US has contributed US$3 million for the exercise, while this country has approved about $382,000.