Sun | Sep 24, 2017

New army chief announces plan to deploy battalion to St James

Published:Thursday | December 1, 2016 | 12:04 PM

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) plans to deploy a full battalion of soldiers to western Jamaica.

The announcement was made this afternoon by newly installed JDF Chief of Defence Staff Major General Rocky Meade.

Police statistics have shown that since the start of the year just under 400 persons were reported killed across Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland.

St James alone has recorded 232 murders since January 1.

Speaking to The Gleaner/Power106 News Centre after he was officially appointed by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, the new JDF chief said the plan is to have an entire battalion in western Jamaica.

A battalion consists of between 500 and 600 soldiers.

He did not give a timetable for the deployment, but said the JDF will embark on a major recruitment drive to ensure it happens.

Meade says the plan is to recruit approximately 250 per quarter for the next 12-24 months.

He made it clear that the army was not taking over the role of the police but is instead seeking to provide enhanced support to the constabulary.