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The operational capabilities of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has been enhanced with the employment of advanced stealth communications equipment, and the establishment of a language training centre, courtesy of the British Government.

Consisting of over 100 Personal Role Radio (PRR) sets, with spares, and a Fixed Base Force Protection System (mobile re-broadcast equipment), the communications equipment isexpected to significantly improve combat effectiveness of the JDF by providing effective and clear communication to soldiers doing front line duties.

The language centre, which has been set up at the JDF's headquarters at Up Park Camp in Kingston, will serve to improve the military’s skills in French and Spanish in the JDF, which will improve their ability to engage and operate in the Caribbean region, particularly in terms of counter-narcotic and counter-illicit traffic operations.

The donations were presented to the Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, during a ceremony at the British High Commission in Kingston on November 27.

Mr. Bunting thanked the British Government for the PRRs, which he said will not only improve the effectiveness of the JDF’s communication, but further enhance its support to the police force.

“It also brings home to me the value this will have, in not just improving soldier safety, but also improving safety of the communities that they are operating in, and avoiding or reducing the risk of miscommunication, particularly within a built up urban environment,” he said.

In terms of the language centre, Mr. Bunting said this would be “very useful in terms of co-operation in our maritime domain, particularly in the counter narcotics effort, in terms of increasing our effectiveness in tackling the guns for drugs trade, particularly (in) Haiti, where we want to increase our capacity for co-operation with the Haitian police."

British High Commissioner, His Excellency Howard Drake said the gift was “yet another indication of a close and enduring relationship between the UK and Jamaica in the defence field, not just law enforcement (but) national security issues (in) general."

According to a press release from the British High Commission, operations within infantry units are much slicker, more effectively applied, better co-ordinated and safer with the use of the PRR sets.  

“Key improvement areas are: increased tempo of operations; improved situational awareness; improved targeting and direction of fire; element of surprise maintained, particularly in urban operations; improved survivability; reduced friendly fire; quicker briefings; and better/quicker re-supply operations,” the document reads.

In terms of the language training centre, the release notes that the laboratory will considerably enhance Jamaica’s security forces' ability to operate in the complex and multi-lingual environment of the Caribbean. The centre will be equipped with 13 computers,two touch screen computers, a projector, a server, hard drive, language software and network equipment.