Sun | Dec 15, 2019

WJC president renews call for mandatory military service

Published:Tuesday | November 12, 2019 | 12:22 AM

Pastor Glen Samuels, the president of the West Jamaica Conference (WJC)of Seventh-day Adventists, is renewing a call he made 12 years ago for mandatory military service for Jamaica’s young people, particularly young men, to turn them away from crime and violence.

During his keynote address at the second annual security forces and youth mentorship prayer breakfast, held at the WJC headquarters in Montego Bay, St James, Samuels referenced the October 6, 2007 edition of The Gleaner, where his previous recommendation about military service was published.

“In The Gleaner on October 6, 2007, it said that, ‘a call for mandatory military training for young persons, particularly males, was issued on the weekend as an incentive to stem the nation’s growing crime problem.’ The person who made that call was one Pastor Glen Samuels, and I repeat the same call 12 years afterward,” said Samuels.

“I asked back then that they would consider a programme where it is mandatory, particularly for young men, to serve at least one year in the army. I repeat the same call now, and I’d like to challenge all sides, because the youngsters who were 10 years old then are now 22, and the issue of violence knows no political colour,” Samuels added.

In recent times, calls have been sounded for the institution of mandatory military service in order to save Jamaica’s unattached youth from falling into criminal activity. In March this year, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) launched a 20-year strategy to enlist young people in the Service Corps programme.

During yesterday’s prayer breakfast, Brigadier Radgh Mason, the JDF’s Jamaica Regiment brigade commander, outlined that out of Jamaica’s approximately 140,000 unattached youth, 20,000 will be targeted for the Service Corps.

“We have just over 140,000 unattached youth, and the JDF, by virtue of the Jamaica National Service Corps, aims to engage 20,000 of them. It requires the rest of Jamaica to provide leadership to save our young people,” said Mason.

“Leadership is not easy, it has never been easy and it will never be easy. It’s not enough to talk, it is time to lead, and unfortunately, persons will get hurt, but we cannot cower in the face of adversity,” Mason warned.

– C.T.