Lt Gen Rocky Meade praised by GG
Retired CDS, Lieutenant General Rocky Meade (left), new Chief of Defence Staff Rear Admiral AntonetteWemyss Gorman and Major Brandon Chambers (right) walk to the saluting dais (podium) on Friday. (Photos: Garfield Robinson)

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Governor-General, Sir Patrick Allen, has praised retired Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, for his role in the Jamaica Defence Force's (JDF) transformation and modernisation during his five-year tenure at the helm of the organisation. 

He noted that these were undertaken through the formulation of a strategic plan to improve the JDF's efficiency and effectiveness.

The Governor-General said it is anticipated that the programmed initiatives “will do much to strengthen the operations and capabilities of the maritime, air, and cyber-command, which include the Coast Guard, Air Wing, and Special Forces.”

He was speaking during Thursday's swearing-in ceremony at King's House for newly appointed CDS, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss-Gorman, the first female to head the JDF.

The Governor-General said the Caribbean Maritime Academy (CMA) was another groundbreaking formation operationalised under General Meade's leadership, noting that it has broadened the JDF's capacity to educate and accredit soldiers.

He also highlighted the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC), which falls under the CMA, describing it as a “game changer” in the way soldiers are recruited and trained.

The Governor-General said the outgoing CDS had an illustrious career in the JDF, culminating at the pinnacle “to which only few have risen”, adding “it seemed like just a short time ago that [you were] sworn into office on December 16, 2016.” 

“General Meade… a grateful nation thanks you for your 38 years of dedicated service. As you move on to another phase of your life, I wish you well,” he said. 

Meade, who joined the JDF in 1984 implemented several projects during his service, prior to being appointed CDS in 2016 when he succeeded Major General Antony Anderson, the current police commissioner. These include: a Flight Safety Programme, the Jamaican Military Museum and Library/Internet Café, and the JDF Language Lab, Farm, and Technical Training Institute.

Following his appointment as CDS, Meade spearheaded initiatives to enhance the JDF's personnel, resources, and infrastructure from a Brigade to a Division. These include: the Jamaica Regiment; the Maritime, Air and Cyber Command; the Support Brigade; the Caribbean Military Academy; and the Jamaica National Reserve.

His leadership extended nationally and internationally to include Chairman of the CARICOM Standing Committee of Military Chiefs, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica's Crime Strategy Committee, Editorial Board of the Society for Caribbean Linguistics, and Linguistics Society of America Committee.

Additionally, General Meade served as vice president of the Royal Air Forces Association Jamaica 580 Branch and the Jamaica Legion; President Emeritus of the international Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics; and on the Governance Committees of the University of Technology and HEART Trust National Training Agency (now HEART/NSTA Trust).

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