Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Defence Act to be amended for enlistment programme

Published:Saturday | March 11, 2017 | 3:00 AMPaul Clarke
Major Basil Jarrett

The Defence Board has commenced dialogue with the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice to facilitate amendments to the Defence Act in order to give the recently announced National Service Enlistment (NSE) Programme legal standing.

When amended, the Act will ensure the army's programme of recruitment will become standard.

"Going forward this enlistment programme will become the new standard for joining the army," stated Major Basil Jarrett, the JDF's Civil Military Coorporation and Media Affairs Officer.

He said the pending change was in line with Prime Minister Andrew Holness' employment and engagement initiative, dubbed LEGS, which seeks to tie young persons in a national service programme that allows youths to Learn, Earn a living, Give back and Save (LEGS).

"This is our new mandate for enlistment in the army. In the future all our soldiers would have come through the NSE programme, which is itself is a dramatic departure from what has obtained for many years," said the Major.

"This will also answer the question many people over the years have asked and suggested about getting our young people actively involved in military service after leaving school," he said.

"They will all be exposed to and imbued with the core values and positive characteristics that the military is known for, such as discipline, respect, honesty, integrity, strong work ethics, patriotism and being good productive citizens," said Major Jarrett.

The NSE is a new category of military service, which will see approximately 1,000 persons aged 18-23, being enlisted in the JDF annually and trained over a one-year period in military, vocational and broader life skills.

At the end of their NSE training period, the majority of the participants will be accepted to join the JDF, as regular Force soldiers, while others will be eligible candidates for employment in the private and public sectors.

... Attractive benefits await recruits

Jarrett added that the benefits of the NSE go far beyond the tangible skills that participants will acquire.

The eligibility for joining the NSE programme will not be any different from the JDF's current minimum requirements, but Jarrett pointed out that the NSE service is different from service in the JDF Regular Force.

"NSE participants will not engage in internal security duties or conduct specific classification training that would for example bring them to a certain level of competence on weapons," stated Jarrett.

"Those who enlist will, however, receive a stipend at a rate to be determined by the Defence Board and the Ministry of Finance and enrolled in a required savings plan consisting of a fixed percentage of net earnings for the duration of their service. This latter requirement is aimed at developing a healthy attitude towards saving and investing among NSE participants," he added.