*The Chief of Defence Staff’s comment at the JSC totally inaccurate*
As a former military officer in the TTDF, Minister of National Security and Commissioner of Police, I want to vehemently disagree with Chief of Defence Staff Air Vice Marshal Darryl Daniel, who, speaking at a sitting of the JSC conveyed, ‘patrols with police is not part of the TTDF’s training’.
It is in fact part of the mandated role and function of the Defence Force, which is not only to defend us against external aggression, but for internal ones as well. In this regard, they are trained in a number of aspects to support the police for local law enforcement. Doing foot patrols, setting up and manning roadblocks, they are an aid to civil power, with a mandate to assist in local law enforcement, which involves supporting the TTPS.
This is clearly stated in the Defence Force Act 14:01, where the second item of responsibilities given to the TTDF is –
“To cooperate and assist the civil power in maintaining law and order.”
In other words, it is the duty of the Defence Force to support the TTPS, with the most striking proof of this being the Inter Agency Task Force, which has conducted operations for over 2 decades. The IATF is comprised of officers of the TTPS, supported by personnel from the Defence Force. And we can easily refer to past Chiefs of Defence Staff, some of whom were Ministers of National Security, such as Brigadier Carl Alfonso and Brigadier John Sandy, who can verify what I have stated.
For those perplexed as to why such a highly trained and qualified CDS, who joined the service the exact day as myself, would make such an erroneous statement, the only plausible explanation is that he is simply trying to protect and defend the inaccurate decisions by the National Security Council, who have refused to use the Defence Force, no doubt contributing immeasurably to our runaway crime situation.
That a force of 5000 able-bodied individuals, only uses less than 1% of its personnel, on a daily basis, to aid in our crime fighting efforts, it shows the failure of this NSC to utilise every available tool in its arsenal, to guarantee safety and security to a population that put them in charge of their affairs.
This stunning underutilisation of such a potent asset, such as the TTDF, must not only confuse citizens, it must also cause critics who do not know better, to unfairly question the relevance of a Defence Force. Which perhaps either exposes this government’s nefarious agenda, or its lack of having anyone on the NSC with the requisite training and expertise to know how to do their jobs competently.
Feeding into the ignorant view that soldiers are only trained to kill, it does a disservice to the rigorous training that takes place at Teteron Barracks, as well as the fact that our military commissioned officers go abroad to receive specific training to support local law enforcement, as was the case during my tour of duty as a UN peacekeeping officer, where I utilised that very training to aid the people of Haiti.
To be clear, rank and file personnel of the Defence Force want to complement the efforts of their brothers and sisters in the TTPS, and given their long history as part of the IATF, and their life-saving efforts in the 1970 uprising, and the 1990 attempted coup, they know they can be of invaluable assistance to all attacks from enemies of the state, both within and outside our borders. This is even more critical, because as militaries all over the world are struggling to justify their existence, we can’t expect our TTDF to stay in camp and only come out during an attempted coup, every 30 years or so. They are well trained and have the capability to contribute a lot.
Trained to deal with riots, looting, and any other attempts to destabilise the country, the TTDF also assists with roadblocks, crowd control, vehicle patrols, and they are heavily involved in the management of major events such as our annual carnival festivities. Not just in the harder tactics, they can also be of assistance in community outreach programmes geared towards steering the youth away from a life of crime, since many TTDF personnel excel in sport, with many of their teams having national players.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of understanding by this NSC, the TTDF is being badly managed, with the most striking example of this occurring in 2020, when the TTPS faced over 150 men descending into POS to destroy the city. Thankfully this was averted due solely to the officers of the TTPS, because the army remained in camp on standby. Not a one-off or isolated example, during the State of Emergency in 2021, the country will recall not seeing any significant presence of the Defence Force, to help the TTPS ensure that members of the public adhered to the regulations.
With our country already reeling from runaway crime, which is no doubt exacerbated by the low morale of TTPS officers, due to leadership issues, this is not the time to continue to misuse the TTDF, as an all hands on deck approach is needed to save our country, and to restore safety and security to its citizenry.
NTA Political Leader
WhatsApp: 482-Gary  / 483-Gary 
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