Rear Admiral Antoinette Wemyss Gorman, on Jan. 20, became the first woman to lead the military, as Chief of Defence Staff in Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), in its 60-year history.
Wemyss Gorman, is the second woman in command of a military force, in the entire world, after Slovenian’s Major General Alenka Ermenc, head of the armed forces who served her country from 2018- 2020.
Celebrated with pomp and ceremony, the military woman succeeds retired Lieutenant General Rocky Meade who served 38 years. He presented the Instrument of Appointment to Admiral Wemyss Gorman at King’s House, where she also took the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Office.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in congratulating Admiral Wemyss Gorman, said her selection through a competitive process by the Defence Board was based on that body’s conclusion that she has the requisite leadership skills, experience, commitment, and strategic vision “to lead the men and women of the JDF and drive them to achieve even greater levels of success,” said the Jamaica Information Service, (JIS).
“Wemyss Gorman who brings 30 years of experience to the rank of admiral, including her service to the Coast Guard, allows her to treat significantly with issues relating to maritime security and the blue economy,” said Holness.
The PM continued, that “She will, therefore, bring a unique perspective to our discussions and efforts to strengthen our borders and prevent illicit inflows, protect the lives and livelihoods of our coastal communities, and ensure Jamaica can derive sustainable benefits from our maritime resources.”
“I look forward to benefiting from her wise counsel on matters relating to defense and security,” adding, “as the fight against crime continues, the JDF will continue to play a critical role in support of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).”
“The JDF will continue along the path of transformation and capacity building, as it positions itself to more effectively and efficiently combat current and future security threats, locally and in the wider Caribbean.”
Admiral Wemyss Gorman, who attended Knox College in Clarendon, joined the JDF in 1992, and completed her professional training and development training at Britannia Royal Naval College HMS Dartmouth United Kingdom, said she was “humbled and privileged” by her appointment, and expressed gratitude for the display of confidence “in my ability to command the men and women of the force.”
She said her tenure in the JDF over the years has equipped her with “valuable tools” and honed the skills required to prepare for the job of CDS.
“Thank you for the examples of committed and capable leadership that you demonstrated, which have laid the foundation for me to build on,” she added.
The CDS pledged to uphold the Oath of Office and, in doing so, “I commit to decisive, firm, and strategic leadership, which is required in today’s complex and ever-changing security environment.”
According to the (JIS) the Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen, also congratulating the new CDS, noting her outstanding military track record, while expressing confidence that “you will continue to serve with distinction.”
“You will be a positive role model for women and men alike as they witness what can be achieved through determination and purpose,” he said.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Jamaica Defence Force, I am proud of the men and women who serve. Let us support them as they work tirelessly to secure the physical integrity and territorial waters of our country,” said Admiral Wemyss Gorman, a graduate of the US Naval War College New Port, Rhode Island.