Monday 21 October, 2019

JDF chief calls for more army applicants from western Jamaica

Lieutenant General Rocky Meade

Lieutenant General Rocky Meade

Chief of Defence Staff for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, is calling for more persons in western Jamaica to apply to serve in the army, as the Second Battalion, Jamaica Regiment is now based in St James.

"It is also my hope that through the permanent presence of the JDF in western Jamaica, we will begin to see increased numbers of applicants from western parishes. The young people from western Jamaica also have significant contributions to make as we continue to build the force. I am therefore depending on the men and women of the Second Battalion to encourage the youngsters to come out and join us," Meade appealed.

He was speaking at the official opening of the JDF’s new Burke Barracks in Providence, St James on Tuesday.

Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) armoured personnel carriers on display in Montego Bay, St James last Wednesday as part of the Second Battalion, Jamaica Regiment's march past in the city.

The new facility forms a part of a two-phased project valued at some $1.6 billion, to provide accommodation for members of the Second Battalion, Jamaica Regiment, whose operations have been relocated from Up Park Camp to St James.

The initial phase of the project, which is accompanied by a price tag of just over $700 million, involves land reclamation, the construction of a two-storey accommodation building and sewage treatment system, to house 264 persons.

 The second phase, which is to cost almost $900 million, is to involve the construction of a second two-storey building to accommodate 264 persons.

Meade disclosed that the JDF is also to build out a facility in Montpelier in St James to house training grounds and the long-term headquarters of the Second Battalion.

Jamaica Defence Force troops deployed to the scene of a helicopter crash in Portmore, St Catherine last November. 

"While we are anchoring the Second Battalion in western Jamaica, this is but one of the locations that we hope to have the Second Battalion anchored. We are hoping to build out as well in Montpelier, where we have sufficient lands to establish the long-term headquarters of the western command and significant training grounds. We are also looking to establish locations in the other (western) parishes," the army boss said.

He thanked stakeholders, including contracting partners, West Indies Home Contractors (WIHCON), for their commitment to delivering quality construction within the agreed timeframe.

WIHCON Chairman, Peter Melhado, said the construction of the barracks was one of the most important job the company has undertaken.

"It is a privilege for WIHCON to play its part in constructing what I believe is a world-class barracks, and it's a place of refuge for soldiers to come back to after a long day of duty serving Jamaica. This building may not be the biggest project that we have done, but certainly for us, is one of the most important, and we put in that extra effort, extra commitment, knowing its use and (the) importance of this facility in nation-building. In fact, this is our fourth installation for the JDF," Melhado said.

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