Persistent showers did not dampen the parade at St Ann’s Fort Saturday evening as the Barbados Defence Force celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Six detachments, comprising officers of the Barbados Coast Guard, the Corps of Women, the Barbados Regiment Reserve, the BDF Sports Programme and the Barbados Cadet Corps, were on parade at the BDF’s headquarters at the Garrison, to celebrate four decades of service to the island.
The parade was held under the patronage of the Force’s Commander-in-Chief, Governor General Dame Sandra Mason. Other dignitaries included Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, Attorney General Dale Marshall, and other government Ministers.
In a message issued ahead of the event Chief of Staff, Col Glyne Grannum said since its inception the BDF has become an essential part of the national landscape and community of organisations.
The BDF was preceded by several military bodies, namely the Barbados Militia, which was formed in 1680; the Yeomanry Corps of 1859; the Barbados Volunteer Force formed in 1902 and the Barbados Regiment.
Addressing the parade, Grannum paid tribute to the officers who laid the foundation for the modern BDF.
“As the force celebrates 40 years, we also pay homage to the Barbados Volunteer Force, originating to 1902, and to our Caribbean connections through the West Indies Regiment and Federation era.
“The modern Barbados Defence Force is a military organisation that pursues the same levels of pride, commitment, proficiency and sacrifice for all Barbadians, and this was evidenced in the past year which was another demanding but rewarding one,” Grannum told the parade.
The BDF band provided the musical accompaniment, which included a 40th anniversary tribute comprising a medley of past Tunes of the Crop Over the past four decades.
“Under the performance of the … bands this evening and the journey back over 40 years of our finest calypso music and tunes of the crop, I’m sure we would have connected in our hearts to those who built the fort, those who raised the force, some of whom are with us today, and indeed to wider Barbados as we stand to serve,” Grannum said.
Meanwhile, Commanding Officer of the Barbados Regiment, Lt Col Carlos Lovell said Barbados was fortunate to have the visionary political leadership which recognised the need for the defence force in the late 1970s.
“The BDF today is a small but capable military force which has responded in times of national crisis both locally and abroad. On every occasion when called upon, the BDF readily answers the call of duty, and more often than not, exceeds expectations,” Lovell stated.
A display of fireworks capped off the evening of celebrations. (MCW)