GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – When people think about the detention facilities at Joint Task Force Guantanamo, the opinions and perceptions on the topic vary greatly. To ensure that the public is aware of the safe, humane, legal and transparent care of the detainees, the Joint Visitors Bureau makes it their mission to provide that information.
The JVB's main mission is to support the JTF in communicating with the "outside world" and working to bring distinguished visitors to the island so they can see the and understand for themselves.
"Our mission is to escort distinguished visitors to the island and ensure that they are attended to," said Army Maj. Victor Perez, deputy director of the JVB.
In preparing for DV visits to Guantanamo Bay, the JVB works diligently setting up tours around the base and in JTF facilities as well as scheduling briefings with senior leadership and fulfilling requests for visitors' specific areas of interest.
"We do this all the time. This is second nature to us," Perez said.
In addition to DV tours of the JTF operating area, the JVB recently conducted a bus tour for local high school students as part of a community outreach.
"It was my first time doing a unique tour like this," Perez said. "We need to let them know what we do over at the detainee facilities and fulfill their curiosity on the matter."
When any DV group is scheduled to come here, the JVB has to work with every department within the JTF to ensure the tour is successful and runs smoothly. One department that is closely involved in all tours is the Joint Detention Group, since nearly all visitors are interested in the mission of the detention facility.
"We work with the JVB almost weekly and are involved in all the tours through the camps," said Navy Commander Jeffrey Hayhurst, Deputy Commander of the JDG. "They are very well organized and the JVB does a good job in having everything arranged and prepared. It's a positive experience."