Several police officers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have received training in hostage negotiation.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Frankie Joseph said it was the first time that members of the constabulary were being trained in this area.
Officers from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation provided the training, as part of the Exercise Tradewinds 2019, a military training event that takes place annually in different countries across the Caribbean.
Phase 2 of the exercise was held in St. Vincent from June 14 to 21.
Joseph told a press conference in Kingstown that, as part of the exercise, there was the simulation of a hostage situation at Argyle International Airport.
“Our international airport is a new airport and we are open now for direct flights from literally the world and we cannot say for certain that certain things would not happen in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.
“So, the exercise that was conducted at AIA was very successful in that we had a hostage negotiation situation at the airport and one of the benefits that St. Vincent and the Grenadines derived from that is that we have never had a negotiation team in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“And the FBI came in and they trained a team in hostage negotiation.”
Joseph said that he and Commissioner of Police, Colin John met with the FBI officers, who commended the Vincentian trainees.
“… one of the things that came out of the discussion is that we are going to keep that team and source the necessary training,” John said.
During the exercise, a number of other simulations were carried out, including an eruption of La Soufriere and disarming explosive devices.
Joseph said that one of the objectives of the St. Vincent leg of Tradewinds was to ascertain the relevant agencies’ readiness to respond to natural disasters and major incidents.
The exercises helped to identify areas of weakness and strength and helped the security forces and emergency services to respond to a situation or to contain it until outside assistance arrives.