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Pressed into service - Several JDF reserves miss passing out parade after being deployed to the streets

Published:Sunday | September 30, 2018 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris/Staff Reporter
Members of the Jamaica Defence Force National Reserve Intake 1701 during their passing-out parade at Up Park Camp, last Saturday.


Almost half of the graduates of the Jamaica Defence Force National Reserve were missing from their passing-out parade (graduation ceremony) on Saturday having been fast-tracked into service in the areas where enhanced security measures have been implemented.

Among those absent from the passing-out parade for Intake 1701 (NR) at Up Park Camp was the runner-up for "the best shot award", as well as the person with the second-highest academic average.

The best shot award is given to the recruit who demonstrates the ability to most accurately fire the JDF-issued M16A2 rifle from various distances and at multiple targets.

There has been increased demand on members of the security forces with the launch of zones of special operations in two communities and states of emergency in St James, the St Catherine North Police Division, and, most recently, sections of the Corporate Area.

Training officer for Intake 1701 (NR), Lieutenant Mario Sahadeo, noted that this was the largest cohort trained in the history of the National Reserve.

"Seventy-nine recruits were fast-tracked based on the exigencies of the force. Seventy-nine recruits remain with us and will march off the square today," said Sahadeo as he noted that there were 158 recruits in total.

It was a euphoric moment for those family members who got to see their loved ones on parade.

Asha Giwa-Agbomeirele could hardly contain her excitement as her husband was named the recruit with the best overall academic average. She said she was proud of her spouse for accepting the call to become a member of the JDF National Reserve.

"He is a bright boy," beamed Giwa-Agbomeirele, while holding the couple's one-year-old son.

The recruits underwent 12 months of gruelling training to test their physical and mental fitness, as well as their fortitude.

Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Rocky Meade, declared that the JDF was working hard to expand the National Reserve as part of the wider force action.

"In keeping with my mantra, 'Mission, Men, Merit', I assure you that you will continue to receive the highest levels of training to ensure that when you are called on, you are not only ready, but capable and equipped," said Meade.