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Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Col. Trevor MacMillan has congratulated the first set of graduates from the Jamaica Military Aviation School, JMAS.
Addressing the three graduates this morning at the ceremony at the JDF Air Wing Manley Base, at the Norman Manley International Airport, Minister MacMillan reminded them that have chosen a profession that can be both rewarding and dangerous. “The fact is you made the patriotic choice to serve your country and we are all proud of and grateful for that decision” he said.
The National Security Minister also appealed to them to be professional, and of good character and integrity at all times.
Minister MacMillan also thanked the Canadian government for the significant support it has been providing over the years.
Lieutenants Victor Dawkins, Osmar Fiddler and Melecia Sinclair today became the first pilots to graduate from the Jamaica Military Aviation School.Lieutenant Fiddler who joined the JDF in 2003 at age 23, also received the plaque for being the top student, having achieved the highest overall average. He will be based at JMAS as an instructor/pilot.
Lieutenants Dawkins and Sinclair who also joined the JDF in 2003, at age 20, will be based at the JDF Air Wing.
In his remarks, Deputy Commander of the North American Aerospace Defence Command, NORAD, Lieutenant General Charlie Bouchard said he was confident that JMAS would become a centre of excellence.
In congratulating the graduates, he assured them there was no better job than flying for their country.He told them that the country has invested in them, and it is now payback time given the skills and knowledge they have acquired.
The NORAD Deputy Commander said they should not see this as the end, but rather the beginning of a journey which will see them giving service not only to Jamaica, but to the wider Caribbean.
Canadian High Commissioner Denis Kingsley said today’s graduation was the culmination of countless hours of hard work and the realisation of shared goals to create a flight school.
He said the graduates were trained to the highest standards.
High Commissioner Kingsley noted that Jamaica is a key partner in security stability in the region, adding that the objective of having a more secure world is a shared responsibility, and cooperation is essential.
He said Jamaica has been the largest beneficiary of military assistance in the region, noting that the funding has been well spent.
High Commissioner Kinglsey said his government is committed to assisting Jamaica to confront threats to regional security.
The Jamaica Military Aviation School was established in 2006 to train personnel from Jamaica and across the region.
The Canadian Military Training Assistance Programme provided significant assistance towards the establishment of the school.
The establishment of JMAS brought to an end, the 35 year training relationship with Canada.