Held at the Defence Force Headquarters at Camp Springfield, the 18th Recruit Passing out Parade was attended by Governor General, His Excellency Sir Tapley Seaton GCMG, CVO, QC, JP, who performed an inspection of the recruits.
Also present at Thursday’s ceremony were Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Minister of Health et al., Senator the Hon. Wendy Phipps, Cabinet Secretary Mrs. Josephine Huggins and Commissioner of Police, Ian Queeley.
Delivering the featured address, Prime Minister Harris publicly thanked the recruits for choosing the path of service to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“I am quite aware that military service is a life of uncompromising standards and one of sacrifice. I want to encourage all of the recruits here standing to hold fast to the good ideals and the professional standards to which you are exposed through this particular training. The history, tradition and reputation of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force combined with the quality of the course and the demanding nature of the training, which the recruits have undergone, should give us all great confidence that these young citizens would join the more seasoned and experienced soldiers in the defence force. We are proud of all these recruits — proud that they had the courage to persevere and the courage to succeed,” Dr. Harris said.
The national security minister continued by calling on all citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis to lend their support to the law enforcement agencies, adding “very often when we have these graduations, we hear all the goodwill and nice expressions of support but at this particular juncture, the country and the society requires more.”
He continued, “In the context of our small country, we have to make a very conscious effort to ensure that we are doing our part. That if we truly are in support of the security officers, we stand by them and with them each and every day; we stand by them by giving support as they perform the most difficult task at which every day they may be called upon to put their lives at risk to maintain public safety and security.”
Meanwhile, Commander of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Wallace, challenged the new recruits to maintain the high standards of professionalism the force is known for.
“This ceremony is the beginning of your military careers and you must continue to increase your professional knowledge and conduct yourselves at all times in a manner which will bring credit to you as an individual and also to your Force as a profession,” Lt. Colonel Wallace told the 28 SKNDF recruits.
During the four-month training period, the recruits were put through several rigorous training procedures in areas such as drills, field craft and minor tactics, map reading, first aid application, voice procedures, military law, use of firearms and internal security.