Hundreds flood JDF after fake social media post

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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THE Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) says it has launched an investigation into the origins of a “social media posting”, which resulted in close to 2,000 individuals showing up at its Up Park Camp headquarters in Kingston, for the Jamaica National Service Corp (JNSC) programme yesterday.

The JDF, in a statement sent to the media yesterday, said it is urging people interested in applying to the JNSC programme to be careful about what they read on social media about the programme and the application process, and to be wary of unscrupulous individuals posing as JDF recruiters.

The JNSC is the standard mode of enlistment for people joining the JDF to serve as full-time soldiers. Prior to this, there were two previous primary categories of service: The Regular Force, soldiers that perform military duties on a full-time basis, and the Reserve Force — soldiers that perform military duties on a routine or on-call, part-time basis.

The JDF said individuals wrongly turned up at Up Park Camp to be interviewed for acceptance into the programme.

According to Major Basil Jarrett, civil-military cooperation and media affairs officer for the JDF, the army typically interviews and tests approximately 60-80 applicants daily, so yesterday's turnout of almost 2,000 people was extremely unusual.

“Before anyone is called to do the interview and test, they would first be required to complete the application process online before they are notified to come in. A large number of persons who showed up today had neither applied online nor received a phone call, and when we enquired as to what prompted them to show up, we were shown a social media posting that was circulating online.

“The JDF did not put out that post and so we are warning applicants that they should only rely on information posted on official JDF social media platforms and mainstream news for information relating to their applications or the application process,” said Major Jarrett.

Among the 2,000 applicants who showed up yesterday, were individuals who travelled from as far as Westmoreland and St James, the statement said. It added that the JDF opted to register and process some of their applications.

This, the JDF warned, is not the norm but was done simply out of consideration for the distance that they had travelled.

As a rule, though, all applicants to the JNSC programme must register initially on the JDF's recruiting website and wait to be called.

Major Jarrett added that, “While the JDF is buoyed by the show of support and is encouraged by the interest that young Jamaicans have shown for the JNSC programme, we are also reminding applicants that there is no application fee or other costs associated with applying and so persons should be immediately suspicious of anyone trying to hijack their enthusiasm by 'selling' them a spot in the organisation.”

Announced in 2017 by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the JNSC is part of the Learn, Earn, Give and Save Programme. It aims to create an avenue for young people aged 18 to 23 to be fully empowered through national service.

It falls under the Government's Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment initiative, targeting job and training opportunities for unattached young people.

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