(front row seated) Cabinet Secretary Josephine Huggins (2nd left) Senator Honourable Wendy Phipps (3rd left) PM Harris (4th left) Lt. Col. Wallace (5th left) with graduating class and other SKNDF members



Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 15, 2016 (SKNIS): Eleven men and two women have begun their new careers as soldiers in the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) having graduated at the ceremonial Passing Out Parade on Thursday (April 14).


The ceremony for members of Basic Military Course No. 17 was held at Camp Springfield and attended by Governor General His Excellency, Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton, Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, senior members of government, members of parliament, partners in law enforcement, family and friends.


Lieutenant Jason Maloney told the gathering that the men and women began training on November 09, 2015 and spent 20 intense weeks learning various skills such as patrolling, map reading and land navigation, field craft and tactics, physical training, internal security, drills, use of firearms and others. Lectures on use of force, rules of engagement and cooperation between police and the defence force were also given.


Prime Minister Harris, who is also the Minister of National Security, congratulated the successful recruits. He singled out Recruits Andrew Herbert and Cajon Simmonds, noting that their background listed them as past attendees of the New Horizons Juvenile Rehabilitation Center.


Despite their past challenges, they persevered and they deserve our applause for their outstanding achievement,” he stated. “When anyone asks can anything good come from the New Horizons Juvenile Rehabilitation Center, we can proudly say Recruits Herbert and Simmonds are among those who have.”


The prime minister also applauded the female recruits, outlining that for the second consecutive year, the best performing recruit Zionelle Maynard was a woman. The second in class was Naeijah Dasent, the other graduating female. The best overall student in 2015 was Zenra Ferdinand, who now holds the rank of Ensign in the SKNDF.


“Thank God for women power,” PM Harris said.


SKNDF Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Wallace, welcomed the recruits to the ranks and charged them to take their responsibility seriously and to capaitalize on the opportunities for personal and professional development. He credited their willingness to serve their country in the security forces and said it was a sign of courage as “military service is not risk free nor is it easy, but it is a life worth living.”

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