The Barbados Defense Force is the name given to the combined armed forces of Barbados. The BDF was established August 15th, 1979, and has responsibility for the territorial defense and internal security of the island.
There are three main components of the BDF:
- Force Headquarters — provided administrative and logistical support for the entire force
- The Barbados Regiment — this is the main land force component, and encompasses both regular and reserve units.
- Barbados Coast Guard — this is the maritime element, with responsibility for patrolling Barbados’ territorial waters as well as drug interdiction and humanitarian and life-saving exercises.
- Barbados Cadet Corp — Military youth organisation. Includes Infantry and Sea Cadets
Increasingly as the crime situation deteriorates, our Barbados Defense Force (BDF) will be called upon to play an increasing role in domestic and regional security duties. They are many who believe that the small size of Barbados should make an army unnecessary in our neck of the woods. Two reasons which are readily offered by those anti-army are 1). the threat of a military to democratically elected governments and 2). the high cost of maintenance by countries with limited resources . Over the years we have witnessed our BDF being called to assist the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) on routine patrols, participating in disaster efforts, ceremonial duties at national events to name a few. BU sides with the view that the BDF has been used to absorb mostly young males as a strategy to keep them employed over the years. In recent times the BDF has been unable to attract applicants which meet the basic enrollment qualification. It has become a source of concern in certain quarters. If the BDF is to replenish soldiers who retire, resign, dismiss or leave through other means recruits will have to be found, and soon.
We can always rely on a member of the Bajan blogosphere to offer a view, read on: