Friday, December 02, 2016
A journey that began at Wolmer’s Boys’ School in the 1970s wound its way through King’s House yesterday with the swearing-in of Brigadier Rocky Meade as the new Chief of Defence Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
Meade, who now holds the rank major general, relayed snippets of his life to dozens of guests and the media attending the swearing-in ceremony, at which Governor General Sir Patrick Allen gave the welcome and Prime Minister Andrew Holness gave the main address.
He told the guests that a question from his mother then, as to whether there were any uniformed groups at Wolmer’s which he could join, started him on the journey.
He learnt that there was a Jamaica Combined Cadet Force Unit at the school, enlisted, and was immediately infused with love for the military lifestyle.
He said that this led to him becoming an aeroplane pilot while still at Wolmer’s in the late 1970s, and eventually to his pole position as head of the JDF.
“The journey of a thousand miles began with that one step… and I saw the JDF as the next logical step to pursue my love for the military,” Meade said as he paid tribute to his mother for guiding him into the direction leading to his new role in serving his country.
“I commit to bear in mind the charges you have made for me,” he told the governor general. He also thanked the prime minister for showing confidence in him, by selecting him for the post.
Meade also paid tribute to his former commander, Brigadier General Antony Anderson, and another former chief of staff, Brigadier General Rudolph Green, who died on Wednesday night.
Prime Minister Holness said that he was confident that Meade has the experience, knowledge and training to continue building on the “solid foundation he has inherited, and the development trajectory set by his predecessors”.
“I have confidence that the legacy of the JDF and its value and relevance to Jamaica will continue, as new demands and new circumstances arise,” Holness said.
The prime minister also applauded the JDF’s multi-sectoral partnerships with other State agencies, including the Jamaica Constabulary Force, as key to ensuring the well-being of the country’s citizens.
“The Government has an unremitting resolve to address crime and build a bond of trust between our citizens and our security forces, through unquestionable conduct and mutual respect,” he said.
Holness added that recent improvements in business and consumer confidence in Jamaica, which the country is experiencing and which is encouraging both local and foreign investments, must be bolstered by improving and safeguarding the security of citizens.