JO - Trooping of the colours - like father, like son
Trooping of the colours - like father, like son
by Kimone Thompson Observer staff reporter
Monday, June 18, 2007
When commanding officer of the First Battalion, the Jamaica Regiment, Lt Col Derrick Robinson on Thursday presided over the presentation of colours to the battalion, he was doing what his father Lt Col Dunstan Robinson did 44 years before him.
Then, in 1963, when the colours - flags representing the Queen of England and the Battalion - were first given to the Jamaica Defence Force group, Dunstan was Commanding Officer. Forty-four years later, at a time when the flags were being changed, because of disrepair, it was Derrick who was sitting in the driver's seat.
At a ceremony to mark the changing of the colours at Up Park Camp, the younger Robinson told journalists he was "deeply honoured" to have followed in his father's footsteps.
A regiment's colours or flags are symbols of honour and devotion to duty. They represent the regiment's spirit, which explains why the seizing of an opposing army's colours is symbolic of triumph and celebration, or defeat and humiliation.
At the ceremony, Governor-General Professor Kenneth Hall, who presented the colours to the Battalion, congratulated the troops for providing quality service over the years and encouraged its members to keep their standards high when they go to do public duties in the United Kingdom next month.
A hundred and forty soldiers from the Battalion will perform ceremonial duties at Buckingham and St James' palaces, as well as at the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. They will also be staging concerts to highlight the talents of the defence force's band.
"The reason behind it is that there is a lot of operational tempo being experienced by the British government right now. They have troops in the Balkans and (other areas of the Middle East)...They can't do those duties and the ceremonial ones so they invited us to come," Lt Col Robinson explained.
But it is not the first time that Jamaican soldiers will be going to serve in the UK. In 1998, they were called to do similar duties in the same places where they will be stationed from mid July to the end of August.
"We always have trips from across the Commonwealth," said defence advisor for the Caribbean at the British High Commission, Col Charles LeBrun. "(But) it will be a privilege and a pleasure to have the JDF in the UK. I've been here four years and I know they have a good reputation," he said.