Sun | Jul 22, 2018

JDF head to meet with top brass of US military

Published:Thursday | March 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson (Centre) is clearly enjoying himself as Major Baron Mason (left), special security officer with the District of Columbia Army National Guard, greets Major General Rocky Meade, chief of defence staff, during yesterday’s reception on the US Coast Guard ‘Cutter Resolute’, hosted by the United States Embassy.

Eric Khant, United States charge d' affaires to Jamaica, earlier this week underscored the planned visit of Major General Rocky Meade, chief of staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), to the United States as acknowledgement of Jamaica's key role in disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal activities in the region.

"General Meade will be visiting Washington, DC, to meet with the Pentagon leadership there, including chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. This is the US's highest-ranking military officer (with whom) General Meade will be discussing issues important to both countries," Khant told a reception aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, docked at Kingston Wharves.

"Now, this visit signifies the high respect our military has for General Meade and the JDF. Ladies and gentlemen, it is not the size that matters. It is professionalism and effectiveness that count," Khant said.

"We often like to describe the Caribbean as our third border, and Jamaica is at the centre of that third border. Knowing Jamaica has our back, we feel much better about our own border security. We would like to say to Jamaica, we also have your back," Khant declared.

In response, Meade pointed out that criminal organisations had no borders and could only succeed if both countries did not work together in a seamless way that facilitated information sharing and other facets of networking. To this end, he said, Jamaica was in the process of improving its maritime domain-awareness capability.

Khant and Meade then signed an agreement to post a JDF liaison officer at the Joint Interagency Task Force - South in Key West Florida. This is expected to enhance collaboration on combatting transnational crime and illicit drug trafficking around Jamaica and the Caribbean.

The visit of the US Coast Guard Cutter Resolute is in anticipation of increased joint patrols of the regional maritime area by the US Coast Guard and JDF Coast Guard as well as their Dutch colleagues.