By Makeida Antonio
Heads of government along with military leaders across the Caribbean have been propositioned to create a regional defense training academy.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne stood firm in his belief that this move will strengthen regional security during the opening ceremony of the Second United Kingdom – Caribbean Chiefs of Defense Conference at the Royalton Hotel yesterday morning.
“The Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force has long recognised the critical deficiency in the professional development in its civil managers and has begun discussions towards the establishment of the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) in the Caribbean.
“Maybe we may eventually want to expand this discussion to include the possibility of establishing a regional academy so that we will have economies of scale. We would not have to replicate for certain countries in Caricom,” Prime Minister Browne said.
Prime Minister Browne called for a revitalisation of the Antigua and Barbuda Cadet Corps following his observations about the level of training required to join the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) will create exceptional leaders.
“Antigua and Barbuda has repeated examples of leaders at all levels who received their foundation during their formative years in the Cadet Corps and I believe we have an obligation to expand a Cadet Corps. I also encourage other countries in the region to expand their Cadet Corps to have a cadre of well-trained, disciplined workers who will lead in the future,” he stated.
Prime Minister Browne highlighted the important role that the military must play as Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of Caricom battles another wave of Covid-19.
“We look to institutions such as our militaries to play an increasing role of ushering a state of normalcy. It is no longer returning to what was but my government certainly looks forward to what will be and of course, we expect the military to be a part of this new paradigm as we seek to establish a new pathway going forward.
“There is no returning to what was but I’m quite sure that the future will be more exciting,” Prime Minister Browne assured military personnel.
During the opening ceremony of the conference, remarks were also made by top military officials including Chief of Defense Telbert Benjamin and Chief of Defense General Sir Nick Carter.