His Royal Highness, Prince Henry of Wales (always known as Prince Harry), decked in military fatigues, participated in several military exercises today (March 7) at the Jamaica Defence Force base (JDF) at Up Park Camp.
Accompanied by several soldiers, he took part in a shooting exercise in the firearm training simulator at the Camp’s Multi-Purpose Training Facility for about 10 minutes. This involved firing fake rounds at a simulated target.
Prince Harry, who is a captain in the Army Air Corps and holds two honorary military appointments in the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, spent a further 20 minutes participating in live firearm practice at the facility’s 30-metre range.
Prior to these exercises, the Prince commissioned a Rappel and Fast Rope Tower and unveiled a plaque mounted at the structure’s entrance in honour of his visit. The 60-foot tower was built with technical co-operation from the Government of Canada.
Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Stephen Hallihan, said the tower was more than just another piece of training infrastructure but is a symbol of “the incredible relationship that exists between Canada and Jamaica in the defensive security sector”.
Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Antony Anderson, said he considered it a privilege for Prince Harry to open the tower that will facilitate soldiers further honing their skills.
The Prince was scheduled to partake in a rappelling exercise, but decided against participating due to the tragic death of British soldiers in Afghanistan last night. He however, watched as several soldiers carried out the exercise.
According to Press Secretary to Their Royal Highness The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Henry of Wales, Miguel Head, the Prince“ does not wish to take part in a military activity, which would be deemed peripheral to an Apache pilot, on this day when the focus for the British army should be on its core professional roles and of looking after the bereaved of those tragically killed”.
The Prince departed from Up Park Camp, co-piloting a helicopter to Falmouth, where he will land at the William Knibb Memorial High School, following which he will be guided on a tour of the Falmouth Pier and other sections of the parish, in the company of Their Excellencies, Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen.
Prince Harry, who is the younger grandson of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, has been involved in a raft of scheduled activities since arriving in the island on Monday (March 5) for his four-day visit, in commemoration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – her 60th year since accession to the throne.
Yesterday (March 6), he met with 100-metre Olympic champion Usain Bolt, at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Usain Bolt Track, where he “beat” the sprinter in a friendly race. He also listened to a moot debate by students at the UWI, Mona Law Faculty.
The Prince then toured the Bustamante Hospital for Children and unveiled the ‘Rings of Life’ statue at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, following which he visited Rise Life Management Services. A State Dinner was held in his honour at King’s House.
Before his departure on Thursday (March 8), Prince Harry will also be treated to a Jamaica night reception and show at Sandals Cay in Montego Bay.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter