Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, has urged new members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to hold true to the organisation's core values as they carry out their tasks.
He was addressing the passing out parade for 127 new soldiers, including five potential officers, from intakes 103 and 11, held on Saturday (March 10) at the JDF Training Camp in Moneague, St. Ann.
The Minister told the soldiers that as part of the national security team, they are expected to do their part to support the fight against organised crime and the scourge of violence, which hampers national development. “I expect that you will approach your role with the same level of commitment and determination you demonstrated over the past 22 weeks,” he stated.
He hailed the academic accomplishments of the recruits, noting that many had good Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination(CAPE) passes and a number of them with tertiary level education.
He said that such educational background is vital for the continued growth, evolution and development of the JDF.
“We expect you to be able to adapt to evolving technologies and changes in the security environment, and with the excellent foundation that you now have, we anticipate that you will contribute to the continuing effectiveness of the JDF,” he stated.
Minister Bunting, in addressing the hundreds of friends and families of the new recruits, noted that the force is still operating below the number of personnel recommended in the 2006 Strategic Defence Review and that the fact is not lost on the government.
He said that it is anticipated that this intake will be the first of several aimed at making up the deficit in numbers.
The passing out parade was the completion of 22 weeks of intense training, which started last October with 160 recruits, comprising 128 men and 32 women.
The training, conducted at the JDF Military Training Wing facility in Newcastle, St. Andrew, covered a number of areas including land navigation, military swimming, unarmed combat, skill at arms, drills, urban and conventional tactics, a rigorous physical programme, and counter revolutionary warfare.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter