JDF Takes Tough Line Against Rogue Soldiers

Captain Lysight inspecting a 1st District Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard soldier.
Photo by Sergeant Darren Beckles

Gleaner Published: Sunday 24 March 2019

Only two reports against members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) were made to the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) last year, but JDF commanders say several other soldiers were disciplined or fired following altercations with civilians.

INDECOM reported last week that there were 699 civilian reports against members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) last year and 42 involving members of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). Routinely, the police force interacts with citizens far more regularly, and in denser numbers, than do soldiers.

There was only one report of civilian violation by security forces carrying out joint activities – including those in the recently concluded zones of special operations (ZOSOs) in Denham Town, Kingston, and Mount Salem, St James.

“We have had very few cases, but we have dealt with them very strongly. I recently dismissed three soldiers for operating while on duty in a way that I did not find acceptable in terms of their interaction with a citizen of Jamaica,” said Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, chief of defence staff of the JDF, during a recent Gleaner Editors’ Forum.

Launched in July 2017, the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) was introduced to contain crime, and at the same time, to safeguard the rights of citizens through community development and social intervention.

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