Efforts are afoot to broaden and strengthen the work of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF), Attorney General Dale Marshall has revealed.
Addressing the BDF’s 39th anniversary parade, sunset and renaming ceremony at St Ann’s Fort last evening, he said the internal structure of the Force would be reviewed to position the organization to better respond to current and emerging threats to national security.
“Our intent is to improve the Force’s capacity in the areas of disaster response, engineering, youth development and maritime dominance,” Marshall stated.
Highlighting the devastation of the 2017 Hurricane season in neighbouring Caribbean countries, he stressed that disaster response was especially critical.
“The 2017 hurricane season was unprecedented and forced all countries of the region to rethink their disaster preparation and response strategies. Barbados must be able to mount self-help responses for the first 72 to 96 hours of a disaster. We have no choice. . . We must therefore be prepared to go it alone for at least 96 hours before receiving regional or international assistance,” said Marshall.
“Our Government will strive to ensure that the Barbados Defence Force is furnished with the necessary resources to mount effective responses, in collaboration with local governmental and non-governmental agencies. We will protect the lives of Barbadians and reduce the incidences of desperation that occur in the immediate aftermath of disasters,” he added.
Meanwhile, the BDF is on a mission to play a greater role in the community.
Starting tomorrow, the force in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Wellness will be seeking to help rehabilitate the homes of the elderly and other vulnerable people in need of assistance.
Chief of Staff of the BDF Glyne Grannum told yesterday’s gathering that included Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson; Chief Fire Officer Errol Maynard; Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith as well as members of the diplomatic corps that, “The Barbados Defence Force has long recognized and saluted the contributions of our senior citizens and is determined to do what it can to help.”
Last Thursday, the BDF handed over a renovated home to double amputee Eutice Forde of Pipers Avenue, Lodge Gill, St Michael.
Yesterday’s ceremony was also attended by members of the Barbados Coast Guard, Barbados Regiment, Barbados Cadet Corps Infantry and Barbados Cadet Corps Maritime.
The main highlight was the renaming of the Force’s headquarters, which is now called the Leonard Banfield House after the first chief of staff of the organization.