The Perry Center was represented at a Meeting of Experts convened by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GOTT) on November 12, 2015 in support of the Twelfth Conference of Defense Minister of the Americas (CDMA) to be hosted by the GOTT in 2016. The Meeting was held to solicit the perspectives of specialized institutions and operational centers, as well as those of the Member States of the CDMA to discuss the following proposed CDMA thematic axes:
The Experts Meeting was chaired by Trinidad’s National Security Ministry Permanent Secretary Carl Francis, with participation by the following countries: Argentina, Barbados, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States. Permanent Secretary Francis emphasized that all discussions were ad referendum and non-binding.
National Security Minister MG (ret.) Edmund Dillon accompanied by Chief of Defense Staff MG Kenrick Maharaj gave opening remarks highlighting the importance of diversity in participation and the spirit of cooperation, and the link to multi-dimensional security. He asserted that the CDMA needs to address the criticism that it has lacked follow-up implementation of its discussions.
While several states mentioned limits on the activities of their Defense forces, the discussions were constructive, with broad participation, and covered the full range of issues handled by Defense Ministries in the hemisphere. The thematic axis of Environmental Protection and Resilience was particularly well-received, with numerous countries describing their activities in this field and recommending steps to meet future challenges.
The next scheduled meeting in advance of the Twelfth CDMA will be the Preparatory Conference to be hosted by the GOTT in March 2016.