Right call to keep army base in Kingston

Published: Friday | June 8, 2012 Comments 0

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It is good to know that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has made it abundantly clear that the headquarters and supporting facilities of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) will remain at Up Park Camp.

The Golding administration had indicated in 2010 that the JDF headquarters would have been relocated from Up Park Camp in Kingston to the Caymanas lands in St Catherine.

After the referendum on September 19, 1961 which saw Jamaica deciding to pull out of the West Indies Federation to prepare for Independence in 1962, the British army, which occupied Up Park Camp, was gradually repatriated and the West India Regiment, then located at Harman Barracks, was moved to Up Park Camp.

CENTRAL SECURITY CONCERN

The JDF was officially formed on July 31, 1962 mainly with soldiers who were part of the West India Regiment that was disbanded on July 30, 1962.

Locating the headquarters of a JDF near to or in the capital city is a long-held tradition throughout the world. One of the primary roles of an army is the defence of its country's capital city. In effect, a country is not considered fully captured until its capital is occupied.

The JDF, rightly so, has its outposts, but its military headquarters located in Kingston serve to intensify internal security considerations. Jamaica is not currently faced with any threat of occupation, but it must be remembered that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

It would be gratifying to see the Government, as Prime Minister Simpson Miller has indicated, take keen interest in repairing the facilities at Up Park Camp to bring our army's facilities on par with those in other developing countries.

THOMAS JAMES

t_james@cwjamaica.com

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