JIS News

Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, has lauded the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) for its contribution to national security and professed the government’s commitment to the modernization of the force in accordance with the Strategic Defence Review.
“Let me make it clear that this administration is firmly convinced of the relevance of the JDF to the security and wellbeing of the Jamaican people and to the development of the country,” Dr. Phillips stated, as he addressed the opening of the newly constructed Delta Company Burke Barracks in Montego Bay, yesterday (Aug.19).
He noted that over its 44 years of existence, the JDF has performed in military and non-military roles, and noted that Jamaicans were aware of its importance to nation building and social stability.
Minister Phillips noted that while some persons have questioned the relevance of the JDF, in light of the fact that the country has not experienced any military threats, the force played a key role in the fight against the illicit drug trade, which threatened national security.
“Let us realize that this international criminal elite provides the material basics for their local counterparts to challenge the state, establish their own zones of control, compete with elected representatives of the people and corrupt public institutions,” he pointed out.
Stating that the “war against the international criminal elite needed to be waged with even greater intelligence and resources”, Dr. Phillips said, “this administration is convinced that any step to diminish the capacity and complement of the JDF would not be in the interest of the Jamaican people”.
The JDF’s Strategic Defence Review, which was approved by Cabinet and tabled in Parliament, provides for a redesign of the structure of headquarters to improve command and control, and to more effectively administer the component parts of the force.
Dr. Phillips said that the government remained committed to the implementation of the modernization programme as outlined in the document.
The new Burke Barracks, which houses the third battalion of the Jamaica Regiment National Reserve, is located on the Flanker main road, on lands adjoining the Sangster International Airport. It was constructed through the collaborative efforts of the Civil Aviation Authority, Airports Authority, the Ministry of National Security, and the JDF’s Engineering Unit.
The Burke Barracks is named in honour of World War 11 veteran and the first commanding officer for Delta Company, Major Basil Constantine Burke. The original barracks was damaged during recent hurricanes.