New Chief of Defence Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Brigadier Antony Anderson, has promised to uphold the high standard and professionalism of the nation’s armed forces in the execution of his new role.
Brigadier Anderson was sworn in on Thursday (October 7), by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, as the 10th Chief of Defence Staff of the JDF, during a ceremony at King’s House, in St. Andrew.
“I will provide for the government and Jamaica, a defence force that is of high quality and professional, one that can be valued by the nation and one that can carry out a range of operations in pursuit of our national interest, and to protect the wellbeing of our citizens,” he said.
His appointment becomes official at midnight on Saturday, October 9, following a formal handing over ceremony at Up Park Camp on earlier on that day. At that time, Brigadier Anderson will assume the rank of Major General.
Newly Chief of Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Brigadier Antony Anderson.
The 27-year veteran said he was keenly aware of the responsibilities that come with his new job and thanked Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding for believing in his abilities. The Prime Minister is also the Minister of Defence.
“I am committed to the defence force, to the government and to the nation. I express my thanks and delight to command what I consider one of the finest defence forces in the world,” he said.
In the meantime, the Governor-General said that Brigadier Anderson is distinctly qualified to lead the men and women of the JDF, “as well as to carry out the necessary collaborations for the good of the country.”
He noted that Brigadier Anderson has served as Deputy Chief of Defence Staff since 2008 and is therefore very knowledgeable of the efforts to restructure and modernise the JDF.
The Governor-General also acknowledged the contributions of outgoing Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Stuart Saunders and expressed gratitude for the quality of work he has done over the years.
New Chief of Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Brigadier Antony Anderson (right), exchanging pleasantries with past Chiefs of Staff (from left): Major General Robert Neish, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin, Major General John Simmons and outgoing Chief of Staff, Major General Stewart Saunders.
“He has served the JDF with distinction for 37 years and has earned the respect and admiration of the officers under his command, as well as the wider community,” he said.
Prime Minister Golding also expressed confidence in the abilities of the new JDF Chief, noting that he was “eminently qualified and well prepared.”
“He has served in almost every division of the JDF and I have every confidence that under his leadership, the JDF will hold and maintain the highest traditions that have defined that noble institution ever since it was founded,” Mr. Golding said.
The Prime Minister remarked that many have questioned the usefulness of the JDF, often viewing the force as a luxury the country cannot afford. He, however, implored Jamaicans not to overlook or underestimate the value and importance of the JDF and the role it plays in the nation’s wellbeing.
Mr. Golding said that although the nation might not have a need to worry about external threats, one of the most significant functions of the JDF is to provide internal security for citizens, providing tactical support to the police in law enforcement.
He attributed much of the success of the new crime fighting initiatives that were launched in May to the outstanding efforts of the JDF and the support it has provided to the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
“In the months since that initiative was launched, we have seen a 43 per cent reduction in the number of murders. There has been a consistent decline in the number of murders in every succeeding month,” the Prime Minister informed.
He said unfortunately, because of the fiscal constraints that have plagued the country for so many years, the JDF continues to function without the resources it needs to perform at its best.
The Prime Minister said this is one of the challenges that Brigadier Anderson will face as he takes on the job of Chief of Defence Staff. “This, more than anything else, will test his capabilities, his creativeness and his leadership,” he said.
Mr. Golding also acknowledged the work of Major General Saunders. “There is no praise that is too great for the leadership that he has given and the work that he has done to restructure and modernise the JDF in pursuance of the recommendations of the strategic review, which was conducted some years ago,” he stated.
Brigadier Anderson is a graduate of the world renowned Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. He has also received advanced military training in Canada and the United States.