Jamaica Defence Force gets first female head

Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss-Gorman

For the first time in its history, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has a female head. Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss-Gorman was sworn into the post of Chief of Defence Staff on Thursday, 20 January.

Wemyss-Gorman (49) has served the army for 29 years.

“Over the past 29 years of service to the force, I have acquired valuable tools and honed the skills required to prepare me for this job. I must recognize and thank all the former chiefs who have all played significant roles in my development,” Wemyss-Gorman said on Thursday.

She said it is a reality that the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) will continue to play a critical role in the country’s national security apparatus, and her efforts will be anchored in the five pillars of force transformation – capability development, human resource management, infrastructure, command, and control.

Meanwhile, Governor General Patrick Allen said Wemyss-Gorman is no stranger to challenges.

“Your track record, your history of firsts and trailblazing career, to date, speak to your suitability for this post. I am confident that as you build on the foundation of your predecessors, you will continue to serve with distinction,” he said.

Wemyss-Gorman’s appointment as a woman chief of defence staff is also a first for the English-speaking Caribbean and the Commonwealth.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness also echoes sentiments that Wemyss-Gorman possesses the combination of leadership skills, experience, commitment, and strategic vision to lead the JDF.

“The rear admiral’s many years in the JDF coast guard has allowed her to treat significantly with issues related to maritime security and the blue economy. She will therefore bring a unique perspective to our discussions and our efforts to strengthen our borders and prevent illicit inflows,” Holness explained.