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JDF implores employers to free reserves for election duty

Published:Monday | February 15, 2016 | 2:00 AMJason Cross
Jarrett

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has urged employers to give special consideration to employees who are members of the national reserves and to make them available for general election duties from February 13 to 28.

"It's in preparation for the elections, you know. We're going to be at full strength," Major Basil Jarrett, JDF civil military cooperation and media affairs officer, said of Saturday's official call-up of the National Reserves.

"Actually, we start preparing from now, so we want to get the reserves in to see how many soldiers we actually have at our disposal," Jarrett told The Gleaner yesterday.

He said that the reserves would be part of the general JDF contribution to the election and would be required to carry out a number of functions, including securing polling stations, preventing intimidation, as well as securing ballot boxes and counting stations.

In terms of numbers, Jarrett said that he could not give an exact figure as to how many reserves the JDF was looking to utilise throughout the election period, but he said that the army welcomed all available reserves.

"Reserves are a little bit different. We don't know because we don't (usually) get all of them. We don't get all the reserves, for whatever reason. As you know, it's a volunteer thing; not really volunteer, but it's on an availability basis and whether or not there are employers who will give them the time off, so we are looking to get as much as possible. We really need the employers to make them available, make some special consideration," Jarrett said.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com