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Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, has said that the Government remains committed to upgrading the facilities of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) at Up Park Camp in Kingston.
“We can’t have an important piece of our defence mechanism, like the army, existing in this state of disrepair. It is something I am going to have to look at and something I will have to discuss with the Government, to see how best we can approach it,” he said.
The Minister was speaking to journalists following a tour of the JDF’s Up Park Camp facility in Kingston, on May 13.
One of the areas which the Minister alluded to as being most urgent, was the living quarters for the soldiers. He said that many officers have to be housed outside of the facility, creating additional costs and difficulties in mobilisation when the need arises.
Another area was in terms of equipment needed for the effective operation of the JDF.
The Minister explained that the purpose of the tour was to get a clearer understanding of the problems the facility faces.
Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Stewart Saunders, in his remarks noted that the visit meant that an engagement has started.
“We have to work together from here, to see how best we can do what needs to be done, especially under the present financial constraints,” he said.
He added that he is hopeful that, in the future, there will be vast improvements to the structures at the facility.
During his visit, the Minister toured sections of the compound, including the Lathbury Barracks, the JDF Airwing and the living quarters. He also held private discussions with the Chief of Defence Staff and other senior staff officers.
The tour comes ahead of the Passing Out Parade of over 100 recruits to be held on Saturday, May 16, at the Moneague Training Camp, St. Ann.