New commander of defence force calls on organization to be agent of change
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Hours before taking the helm of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF), Major J. Anthony Comrie stood behind a podium at Camp Springfield and promised the troops assembled before him, and the audience behind him, that the organization will embrace its role as a “true agent of change.”
The phrase essentially captures his vision for the force that he now commands and the plans to achieve these goals. His words resonated with the large turnout Wednesday who had gathered to witness the first-ever Retirement and Change of Command Ceremony for the organization.
In reference to the agency’s role in reducing violent crimes, particularly those involving firearms, Comrie sought to provide clarity to the issue. “The role of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force is sometime misunderstood, particularly among the emerging responsibility to current international, regional and local threats to our security,” he stated. “Our strategic objectives must emanate from our policy makers, as our institutions and citizenry provide the checks and balances to our policy makers. There is no doubt that the security of our state is intertwined with our economic development and, in this regard, our support to the police is unwavering.”
That support will take the form of joint planning, execution and evaluation of operations with law enforcement, and providing professional advice in various areas of national development. Assisting relief efforts following natural or man-made disasters as well as expanding civilian and military partnership were also mentioned.
Comrie hinted at plans “to build resilience within the institution and focus on rendering assistance to critical departments within the twin-island federation” and promised more details will be revealed at a later date.
Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris saluted Comrie for his 30 years of service to the security forces, the last 10 of which was spent as the commander of the Coast Guard Unit.
“I was encouraged by the words of the incoming commander to ensure that this high level of collaboration and cooperation across all agencies of law enforcement should continue at a stepped up pace,” Harris said. He wished Maj. Comrie “unmitigated success, confident in the continued support of the government and people” of St. Kitts and Nevis.
J. Anthony Comrie assumed the post of lieutenant colonel and commander of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force at midnight March 1.