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Operation TATOU was the Canadian Forces participation in support to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 27 November to 29 November 2009.

The task force

Operation TATOU provided airlift and maritime surveillance services in support of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force.

The airlift component consisted of one CC-150 Polaris long-range transport aircraft from 8 Wing Trenton, Ont., to bring more than 200 military and police personnel from Caribbean Community countries to Port of Spain, where they assisted Trinidadian authorities during the meeting.

The maritime surveillance portion of the operation, conducted throughout the meeting, comprised:

  • the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ville de Québec from Halifax, N.S.,
  • one CP 140 Aurora maritime surveillance aircraft from 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S., and
  • a Maritime Liaison Team from Maritime Forces Atlantic, deployed ashore in Trinidad and Tobago.

The mission

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting brought thousands of delegates and 53 Heads of Government to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 27 November to 29 November 2009. Held every two years, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting provides a forum for Commonwealth leaders to discuss issues and agree on collective policies and initiatives.

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the smallest countries ever to host an international summit of this magnitude. Facing significant logistics and security challenges, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago asked for help from the participating nations, including Canada. In response to this request, the Canadian Forces mounted Operation TATOU to provide maritime surveillance and airlift capabilities in support of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force.

Operation TATOU was previously conducted, with similar composition, to support the successful Summit of the Americas when it was held in Trinidad and Tobago from 17 April to 19 April 2009.

Participation by the Canadian Forces in the security arrangements for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting was consistent with the CF mandate to defend North America and contribute to international peace and security. CF assistance to this summit demonstrates Canada’s interest and commitment not only to the Commonwealth, but also to our neighbours in the Americas.

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