FORMER executive director of the National Operations Centre Garvin Heerah believes the Prime Minister's engaging in high-level discussions with agencies such as the US Department of Defense was crucial for Trinidad and Tobago for several reasons, including security co-operation, regional stability, diplomatic relations and economic interests.
On security co-operation, Heera told Newsday on February 1 that collaboration with the US enhances the country's security capabilities, especially in addressing issues like border control and the illegal arms trade.
The regional security expert added that this co-operation can involve intelligence-sharing, joint operations, and the exchange of best practices.
On regional stability, Heerah said: "Discussing regional conflicts and challenges promotes stability in the Caribbean Basin. Given Trinidad and Tobago's strategic location, stability in the region is vital for economic development, including the oil and gas sector."
He added that as an energy-dependent nation, Trinidad and Tobago's economic well-being is closely tied to the stability of the oil and gas sector.
"High-level discussions can address potential threats to these interests and explore avenues for collaboration in protecting critical infrastructure," Heerah added. "Engaging in discussions at this level strengthens diplomatic ties between nations. It establishes Trinidad and Tobago as a responsible actor in international affairs and fosters goodwill, which can be crucial during times of crisis."
Heerah is also a strategic security consultant.
Dr Rowley and the delegation left Trinidad on January 28 to attend a series of meetings with senior US government representatives.
A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said the meetings were to focus on energy, commerce, cybersecurity, diplomacy and other relevant issues. The PM hosted a media conference on Friday at Whitehall.
Rowley met with US vice president Kamala Harris in a closed-door session at the White House. A media release from the White House, which Rowley posted on his Facebook page on January 31, gave details of that meeting.
It said they discussed continued progress under the US-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis (PACC 2030) and other key priorities, including regional security issues and the imperative of addressing firearms trafficking.
PACC is the US government's flagship partnership with the Caribbean to advance climate adaptation and resilience and clean energy co-operation.
"Collaborating with the US provides access to resources, expertise, and technological advancements that can enhance the country's capacity to address security challenges effectively," Heerah said.
He said having high-level discussions on matters such as the ongoing conflict between Guyana and Venezuela was strategically important for Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.
On Wednesday, Rowley met with the US national security adviser to the vice president, Dr Philip Gordon, in Washington, DC.
The meeting was said to have provided an opportunity to delve into regional and national security concerns, with both parties reiterating their commitment to continue working closely together.
That same day, Rowley also joined House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries on Capitol Hill for a meeting with several leading members of Congress.
On Monday, Rowley held high-level meetings with US military officials at the Pentagon, headquarters of the US Department of Defense. He also met with the Central Intelligence Agency in Virginia.
Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne, Minister in the OPM Stuart Young, Digital Transformation Minister Hassel Bacchus and Minister in the Office of the Attorney General Renuka Sagramsingh-Sooklal accompanied the PM.
Chief of Defence Staff Darryl Daniel was also in the team.