Canada`s Chief of Defence Staff Concludes Productive Visit to Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Wayne Eyre, along with the Royal Canadian Naval Ship HMCS Margaret Brooke and its crew, have concluded a highly productive visit to Jamaica.

Throughout the visit, General Eyre engaged in substantive discussions with key Jamaican defence officials, focusing on addressing regional security challenges and fostering bilateral partnerships.

Additionally, General Eyre toured HMCS Margaret Brooke and met with Canadian Armed Forces members onboard. This marked both the Chief of the Defence Staff’s inaugural official trip to Jamaica and the ship’s maiden port of call to the island.

Canadian High Commissioner Emina Tudakovic, who graciously provided opening remarks at a reception held onboard HMCS Margaret Brooke, spoke of the importance of this visit in deepening the commitment of Canada’s support to Jamaica on security issues as well as the bilateral relationship.

“Nothing says Canada like a Royal Canadian Naval Ship; its sailors represent all facets of Canadian society, our diversity, our values, and our commitment to peace and support of the rule-based global order that is fundamental to our very existence both here in Jamaica and in Canada. The arrival of HMCS Margaret Brooke and a visit by our Chief of the Defence Staff, General Wayne Eyre, symbolise the enduring bond between Canada and Jamaica, as well as the deep-rooted partnership between the Canadian Armed Forces and the Jamaican Defence Force.”

Addressing attendees at the reception, General Eyre reaffirmed Canada’s steadfast commitment to enhancing its defence presence in the region and strengthening the Canada-Jamaica defence relationship. He remarked that “Jamaica holds a special place as Canada’s most important defence partner in the Caribbean. Our cooperation spans decades, rooted in a strong bilateral relationship that dates back to 1965. From our longstanding training programmes to our collaborative efforts in regional security initiatives, our partnership continues to thrive and evolve. I am deeply grateful for Jamaica’s partnership and unwavering dedication to our shared goals. Together, we have maintained peace and security in the Caribbean for decades, and it is through our continued collaboration that we will ensure a prosperous future for generations to come.”

Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman, Chief of Defence Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force, welcomed the visit and the fruitful discussions, emphasising the importance of collaboration in tackling shared security concerns.

Prior to departure, the ship’s crew members participated in community service initiatives, spearheading construction improvements at the Clapham Community Basic School. The crew provided a fresh coat of paint and other essential infrastructure enhancements, along with donating school supplies, and food items, in collaboration with the Sandals Foundation.

HMCS Margaret Brooke is currently deployed on Op CARIBBE, the Canadian Armed Forces support for multinational efforts to address security challenges in the region, including illicit trafficking. On February 4, HMCS Margaret Brooke supported the US Coast Guard in the successful seizure of roughly 510 kg of illegal narcotics in the Caribbean Sea.

Jamaica and Canada have a long history of close cooperation in the areas of defence and security, with more than 50 years of relations between the Canadian Armed Forces and the Jamaica Defence Force. The Canadian Armed Forces regularly conducts multiple capacity-building and capability-development exercises with the Jamaican Defence Force in order to combat trans-regional threats and criminal activity in the Caribbean Basin.

Overall, Canada’s unwavering commitment to defence cooperation underscores its dedication to advancing security and fostering collaboration throughout Jamaica and the Americas.

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