The Public’s Perception of the Operating Standards of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF):  A Quantitative Inquiry

 

Paul Andrew Bourne1, Caroline McLean2, Vincent M.S. Peterkin3, James Fallah4, Clifton Foster5

1Department of Institutional Research, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester, 2Department of Nursing, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester, 3College of Humanities, Behavioural and Social Sciences, 4Department of Dental Hygiene, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester, 5Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Sciences, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica

Email:  [email protected]

Keywords

 

ABSTRACT

Jamaica Defence Force, Operating Standards, JDF, Police Constabulary Force

 

·       Objective: This study seeks to evaluate and explore the JDF from an operational standpoint. The Operations Management Theory (OMT) is used to examine whether the public’s perception of the operating standards of the JDF has changed in the last decade (2012 -2022). Methods and materials: This research employed a national cross-sectional web-based descriptive research design. Data collection occurred from July 13, 2022, to August 11, 2022. Using the 2019 population of Jamaica obtained from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, with a 3.4% margin of error and 95% confidence interval, the calculated sample size is 831 resident Jamaicans. The response rate was 82.1% (n=762). Findings: The majority of the sampled respondents were Jamaicans (97.1%, n=766), resided in Jamaica (88.9%, n=700), females (59.6%, n=472), and resided in Manchester (19.2%, 150). Of the Jamaicans (n=764), 89.3% (n=682) of them reside in Jamaica compared to 10.7% (n=82) reside outside. Furthermore, 89.3% of Jamaicans resided in Jamaica compared to 77.3% of non-Jamaicans (χ2 (1) = 3.125, P = 0.077). The findings indicate that people have lost respect for the JDF in the last 6 months. Conclusion: Despite the traditional military structure of the Jamaica Defence Force, the organization has been deployed on the streets of Jamaica by political administrations to curb and remedy the difficulty of policing society, and this explains a justification for a public assessment of this organization. The public is indecisive on whether the Jamaica Defence Force is too frequently used jointly with the Police Constabulary Force to police the streets of Jamaica as well as being neutral on the overall operating standards of the organization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

National security and sovereignty are the hallmarks of all democratic societies (Naidu, 2002). The military is a critical part of the protection of the sovereignty, national security, and democracy of a nation (North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 2008; Pereira, 2022; Public Broadcasting Services (PBS), 1984). The military constitutes the air force, army, navy, space force, marine, and coast guard for primarily protecting a state's interest from external armed threats. Historically, leaders also used the military to gain political independence or sovereignty through war (Mark, 2009). According to Jordan et al. (2016), modern warfare explains a rationale for the military in nations, including small states like Jamaica.

The military branch responsible for Jamaica's national security and sovereignty is the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) (Ministry of Justice, 2014). The JDF constitutes the army, air wing, and coast guard (The Ministry of National Security, nd). The constitution of the JDF occurred in 1962 from the West India Regiment (WIR), a British colonial regiment that dates back to 1795 when the first West India Regiment was formed in the Windward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean (Jamaica Defence Force, 2021a; National Army Museum, nd). The JDF was formed just a few days before Jamaica became a sovereign independent State within the Commonwealth of Nations. Although the JDF is still young, it has a long history of descent and traditions stemming from units raised in the West Indies since the mid-seventeenth century, succinctly summarised in the current study.

Its original predecessor was the ancient Jamaica Militia of 1662, the immediate successor to Oliver Cromwell's troops that had taken Jamaica from the Spaniards a mere seven years earlier. In 1694, one of two only invasions of Jamaica other than the English invasion of 1655, the French landed a force of over 1,400 men at Carlisle Bay in southern Clarendon (Jamaica Defence Force, nd). Here they were met by militiamen, initially, only some 250, who alone – without support from any naval or regular army units – repulsed the French with about 100 men killed or wounded. Estimates of the French losses were between 150 and 350.

By revamping the Joint/Division headquarters and creating five Brigade (Bde) formations, the JDF's current structure reflects the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) "standard combined arms Division structure". The five (Bde) formations consist of four Regular Force (The Jamaica Regiment (JCA Regt), the Maritime, Air and Cyber Command (MACC), the Support Brigade (Sp Bde) and the Caribbean Military Academy (CMA)) in addition to an expanded Jamaica National Reserve (JNR). Furthermore, these formations provide all "operational oversight and management of the Force's capabilities in the land, air, sea and cyber domains". This structure aims to ensure "a greater focus by the Chief of Defence Staff and the Joint staff on matters of strategic importance to the Force, both nationally and regionally.

The Jamaica Defence Force participated in the US-led invasion of Grenada in October 1983 (Ganase, 2014; Ledgister, 2019) and has engaged in many national states of emergency in Jamaica and performed joint police-military operations with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF, nd). The Jamaican government has been twinning the military with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to address high rates of crimes in society. Those joint military-police operations have resulted in the military frequently interacting with Jamaicans. The joint police-military operations in Jamaica means that the public is having in frequently interface with the in their communities, but how do the people view this new reality? And do Jamaicans believe that in keeping with current realities, the JDF should be more accountable to the people?

There is a change in the operational reality of the JDF. The new engagement does not have any empirical findings, particularly relating to the views of Jamaicans on the matter. The afore-mentioned issue is the rationale for the current study. Hence, this study seeks to evaluate whether the public's perception of the operating standards of the JDF has changed in the last decade (i.e., 2012-2022). Furthermore, the current study also will assess Jamaicans' perception of the accountability of the JDF to the citizenry and provide a framework of what Jamaicans perceive as the ideal JDF.

The reality understands the public's perception of the operational standards of the JDF and whether this perception has changed in the last decade will provide some context for understanding the effectiveness or otherwise of the joint police-military operations. An important issue not examined in the literature is the public's trust in the JDF and its possible erosion in the last decade. The military provides a service to society, so trust between it and the citizenry is critical for operations to be successful. Trust, long established in the literature, is paramount for social solidarity. Research trends indicate that the interest in trust among customers has shifted to a more "relationship-based service orientation" (Isaeva et al., 2020). Customers' trust is a cornerstone of the service industry.

Research demonstrates that the quality of service for the service industry is evident in the customers' response. Customers tend to be loyal and supportive if they sense they are valued. The relationship between this industry and its customers should be based on trust, commitment, and collaboration, resulting in mutual satisfaction among both entities (Isaeva et al., 2020). Since the military is a part of the service industry and provides service to a country and its citizens, it is crucial to understand its operational standards. To further evaluate and explore the JDF from an operational standpoint, the Operations Management Theory (OMT) is used to examine whether the public's perception of the operating standards of the JDF has changed in the last decade (i.e., 2012-2022).

Using a theory in this study provides a context for the relationship between phenomena (Taylor, 1911; Walker et al., 2015). The focus of this study has practical relevance to the current operating procedures of the JDF. The Operations Management Theory (OMT) helps to explain whether a company's practice leads to efficiency in production or services. In general terms of operations, management pertains to efficient management of "production process and business operations". Operations management involves efficiently operating a business in the area of resources and meeting the customers' needs with the highest quality while being "economically viable" (MCclay, 2021). 

The OMT addresses company strategies for operational and production interventions to increase operations and production efficiency (Taylor, 1911). Furthermore, the key to these efficiencies is utilizing resources to meet customer needs while minimising costs. Another essential aspect is leveraging labour and raw materials by efficiently using resources to produce goods and services. OMT extends to modern operations management by promoting four fundamental theories: business process redesign (BPR), six sigma, lean manufacturing, and reconfigurable manufacturing systems. According to Taylor (1911) in "The Principles of Scientific Management," there are four specific elements: the development of "a true science of management, scientific selection of an effective and efficient worker, education and development of workers, and intimate cooperation between management and staff". OMT is an appropriate theory to understand further the public's perception of the operating standards of the JDF.

 

METHODS

A national cross-sectional web-based descriptive research design was employed for the current study. The data was collected from July 13, 2022, to August 11, 2022. Using the 2019 population of Jamaica (Statistical Institute of Jamaica, 2019; i.e., 2,734,092), a 3.4% margin of error, and 95% confidence interval; the calculated sample size is 831 resident Jamaicans. Of the prospective sampled resident Jamaicans (n=831), the response rate was 82.1% (n=762). The research team collected data from people across the 14 parishes of Jamaica (see Table 1). In addition, the researchers equally sought the views of non-resident Jamaicans and other nationalities living in Jamaica at the time of the data collection. The study garnered the opinions of 82 non-resident Jamaicans and 87 non-Jamaicans who resided in the nation at the time of the data collection using social media, particularly Facebook. 

The instrument was developed and designed by Paul Andrew Bourne and aided by Vincent M.S. Peterkin. It was a standardized instrument of fourteen (14) questions (i.e., 13 close-ended items; one open-ended item, with six demographic items – Annex 1). Researchers sent the instrument to scholars from different areas to provide feedback on the questionnaire's appropriateness, relevance, and quality. The study researchers then incorporated their feedback into the Survey, and then the approved copy was designed in Survey Monkey.

Seven Likert-scale items were designed to evaluate the operating standards of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) over five specific periods (i.e., ½ year, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, and 10 years). The Likert scale ranged from strongly disagree (coded as 1), disagree (coded as 2), neutral (coded as 3), agree (coded as 4), and strongly agree (coded as 5). Researchers conducted reliability analysis for this study on the 7-item questions, and a value of 0.7 was used to determine good reliability. Negative questions were reverse coded, and these were items 2 (i.e., The operating standards of the JDF have fallen), 4 (i.e., Members of the JDF are too frequently used as police officers), 6 (i.e., I am afraid of soldiers), and 7 (i.e., I have lost respect for the JDF because of how it operates with the public). In addition, confirmatory factor analysis was used to determine the validity of the 7-item Likert scale questions. Factor analysis established that the 7-item Likert scale questions are valid for usage in assessing the operating standards of the JDF (see Annex 2). In addition, items that have a commonality of less than 0.5 were deleted from the operating standard construction index.

 

RESULTS

Table 1 presents the selected demographic characteristics of the sampled respondents. Of the sampled respondents (n=792), the response rates were 99.9% (n=791) for gender, 99.6% (n=789) for nationality, 99.4% (n=787) for resident Jamaican, and 98.3% (n=780) for parish of residence in Jamaica. The findings revealed that the majority of the sampled respondents were Jamaicans (97.1%, n=766), resided in Jamaica (88.9%, n=700), female (59.6%, n=472), and resided in Manchester (19.2%, 150).

Table 1: Demographic characteristics of sampled respondents, n=792

Details

Total, % (n)

Nationality

 

     Jamaican

97.1 (766)

     Other

2.9 (23)

Residential status

 

    In Jamaica

88.9 (700)

    Outside of Jamaica

11.1 (87)

Gender

 

     Male

39.6 (313)

     Female

59.6 (472)

     Non-binary

0.8 (6)

Parish of residence

 

   Kingston

6.8 (53)

   St. Andrew

6.0 (47)

   St. Thomas

2.3 (18)

   Portland

5.4 (42)

   St. Mary

1.9 (15)

   St. Ann

5.0 (39)

   Trelawny

2.1 (16)

   St. James

5.0 (39)

   Hanover

3.3 (26)

   Westmoreland

3.8 (30)

   St. Elizabeth

13.7 (107)

   Manchester

19.2 (150)

   Clarendon

10.1 (79)

   St. Catherine

8.8 (69)

   Not Applicable (i.e., outside of Jamaica)

6.4 (50)

 

Table 2 presents a cross-tabulation between the nationality and residential status of the sampled respondents. Of the Jamaicans (n=764), 89.3% (n=682) resided in Jamaica compared to 10.7% (n=82) resided outside of Jamaica. Furthermore, 89.3% of Jamaicans resided in Jamaica compared to 77.3% of non-Jamaicans (χ2 (1) = 3.125, P = 0.077).

Table 2: A cross-tabulation between Nationality and Resident Jamaican

Details

Nationality

Total

Jamaican

Other

% (N)

% (n)

% (n)

 

 

Residential status

 

 

 

 

     Inside Jamaica

89.3 (682)

77.3 (17)

88.9 (699)

         

     Outside Jamaica

10.7 (82)

22.7 (5)

11.1  (87)

 

 

Total

 

764

 

22

 

786

 

 

Of the sampled respondents, 19.1% (n=151) indicated that they have had run-ins (accused, detained, or arrested) with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and 12.2% (n=96) with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF)-(Table 3).

Table 3: Run-ins (being accused, detained, or arrested) with the Law in Jamaica, n=

Details

Total

% (n)

Jamaica Defence Force (JDF)

 

    Yes

19.1 (151)

    No

80.9 (638

Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF)

 

    Yes

12.2 (96)

 

    No

87.8 (694)

 

Table 4 presents cross-tabulation between those who have had run-ins (being accused, detained, or arrested) with the JCF and Area of Residence in Jamaica. The findings revealed a significant statistical relationship between the two aforementioned variables (χ2 (14) = 33.605, P = 0.002).

Table 4: A cross-tabulation between those who have had run-ins (being accused, detained, or arrested) with the JCF and Area of Residence in Jamaica

 

Details

Run-ins

Total, % (n)

Yes

No

% (n)

% (n)

% (n)

Parish of residence

 

 

 

   Kingston

7.3 (11)

6.7 (42)

6.8 (53)

   St. Andrew

5.3 (8)

6.2 (39)

6.0 (47)

   St. Thomas

4.6 (7)

1.8 (11)

2.3 (18)

   Portland

8.6 (13)

4.6 (29)

5.4 (42)

   St. Mary

1.3 (2)

2.1 (13)

1.9 (15)

   St. Ann

4.0 (6)

5.3 (33)

5.0 (39)

   Trelawny

1.3 (2)

2.2 (14)

2.1 (16)

   St. James

6.0 (9)

4.8 (30)

5.0 (39)

   Hanover

5.3 (8)

2.9 (18)

3.3 (26)

   Westmoreland

4.6 (7)

3.5 (22)

3.7 (29)

   St. Elizabeth

6.0 (9)

15.5 (97)

13.6 (106)

   Manchester

15.2 (23)

20.3 (127)

19.3 (150)

   Clarendon

10.6 (16)

10.0 (63)

10.2 (79)

   St. Catherine

7.3 (11)

9.3 (58)

8.9 (69)

   Not Applicable (i.e., outside of Jamaica)

12.6 (18)

4.9 (31)

6.4 (50)

 

Table 5 presents cross-tabulation between those who have had run-ins (being accused, detained, or arrested) with the JDF and Area of Residence in Jamaica. The findings revealed a significant statistical relationship between the two aforementioned variables (χ2 (14) = 48.0425, P < 0.001).

Table 5: A cross-tabulation between those who have had run-ins (being accused, detained, or arrested) with the JDF and Area of Residence in Jamaica

 

Details

Run-ins

 

Total, % (n)

% (n)

Yes

No

% (n)

% (n)

Parish of residence

 

 

 

   Kingston

8.3 (8)

6.6 (45)

6.8 (53)

   St. Andrew

7.3 (7)

5.9 (40)

6.0 (47)

   St. Thomas

6.3 (6)

1.8 (12)

2.3 (18)

   Portland

13.5 (13)

4.2 (29)

5.4 (42)

   St. Mary

2.1 (2)

1.9 (13)

1.9 (15)

   St. Ann

6.3 (6)

4.8 (33)

5.0 (39)

   Trelawny

0.0 (0)

2.3 (16)

2.1 (16)

   St. James

3.1 (3)

5.3 (36)

5.0 (39)

   Hanover

4.2 (4)

3.2 (22)

3.3 (26)

   Westmoreland

4.2 (4)

3.8 (26)

3.9 (30)

   St. Elizabeth

5.2 (5)

14.9 (102)

13.7 (107)

   Manchester

7.3 (7)

20.9 (143)

19.3 (150)

   Clarendon

7.3 (7)

10.5 (72)

10.1 (79)

   St. Catherine

12.5 (12)

8.2 (56)

8.7 (68)

   Not Applicable (i.e., outside of Jamaica)

12.5 (12)

5.6 (38)

6.4 (50)

Total

96

683

779

 

Table 6 presents the descriptive statistics for people's perception of the operating standards of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) for the last 6 months. The seven-item scale is relatively good to assess a single variable referred to as the operating standard of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF, α = 0.667). Generally, the sampled respondents disagreed that the operating standards of the JDF are high for the last 6 months. Furthermore, the sampled respondents agreed that the operating standards of the JDF have fallen in the last 6 months; but that people are still afraid of soldiers. The findings indicate that people have lost respect for the JDF in the last 6 months. In addition, people disagreed that the JDF is still relevant in today’s society.

Table 6:

Descriptive statistics for People’s perception of the operating standards of the JDF (1/2 year)

Details

Mean

Std. Deviation

N

The JDF operates at a high standard

1.9276

0.42271

773

The operating standards of the JDF have fallen

3.8900

0.43137

773

Generally, the members of the JDF operate in a professional manner

1.9405

0.39958

773

Members of the JDF are too frequently used as police officers

3.8680

0.42362

773

The JDF is still relevant in today’s society

2.3415

0.55970

773

I am afraid of soldiers

4.1578

0.54434

773

I have lost respect for the JDF because of how it operates with the public

3.9547

0.51583

773

 

Table 7 presents the descriptive statistics for people's perception of the operating standards of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) over the last 12 months. The seven-item scale is relatively good to assess a single variable referred to as the operating standard of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF, α = 0.751). Generally, the sampled respondents are neutral on the matter that the operating standards of the JDF were high during the last 12 months. Furthermore, people agreed that the JDF was relevant one year ago, and they are neutral on whether the JDF is too frequently used by governments.

Table 7:

Descriptive statistics for People’s perception of the JDF (1 year)

 

Details

Mean

Std. Deviation

N

The JDF operates at a high standard

3.0616

1.10031

747

The operating standards of the JDF have fallen

2.7724

1.04671

747

Generally, the members of the JDF operate in a professional manner

3.0335

1.08250

747

Members of the JDF are too frequently used as police officers

2.4699

1.00139

747

The JDF is still relevant in today’s society

4.0147

.95953

747

I am afraid of soldiers

3.5609

1.12489

747

I have lost respect for the JDF because of how it operates with the public

2.9933

1.18467

747

 

Table 8 presents the descriptive statistics for people's perception of the operating standards of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) 2 years ago. The seven-item scale is relatively good to assess a single variable referred to as the operating standard of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF, α = 0.744). Generally, the sampled respondents are neutral on the matter that the operating standards of the JDF were high during the last 24 months. The sampled respondents agreed that the JDF was relevant 2 years ago and they are neutral of the professional behaviour of operating JDF members on the streets.

Table 8:

Descriptive statistics for People’s perception of the JDF (2 years)

 

  Details

Mean

Std. Deviation

N

The JDF operates at a high standard

3.1116

1.09919

726

The operating standards of the JDF have fallen

2.8664

1.06482

726

Generally, the members of the JDF operate in a professional manner

3.1364

1.09261

726

Members of the JDF are too frequently used as police officers

2.5124

1.03283

726

The JDF is still relevant in today’s society

3.9945

.96845

726

I am afraid of soldiers

3.5234

1.15017

726

I have lost respect for the JDF because of how it operates with the public

2.9821

1.19468

726

 

Table 9 presents the descriptive statistics for people's perception of the operating standards of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) 5 years ago. The seven-item scale is relatively good to assess a single variable referred to as the operating standard of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF, α = 0.744). Generally, the sampled respondents are neutral on the matter that the operating standards of the JDF were high about 5 years ago. The sampled respondents have a neutral perspective on 1. The operating standards of the JDF are high, 2. The operating standards of the JDF have fallen 3. The members of the JDF are too frequently used as police officers, and 4. They have lost respect for the JDF. However, on average, they agreed that the JDF is relevant in today’s society.

Table 9:

Descriptive statistics for People’s perception of the JDF (5 years)

 

 

Mean

Std. Deviation

N

The JDF operates at a high standard

3.3121

1.09086

721

The operating standards of the JDF have fallen

2.9307

1.04518

721

Generally, the members of the JDF operate in a professional manner

3.2691

1.06706

721

Members of the JDF are too frequently used as police officers

2.6519

1.05647

721

The JDF is still relevant in today’s society

4.0444

.92390

721

I am afraid of soldiers

3.5201

1.14985

721

I have lost respect for the JDF because of how it operates with the public

3.0458

1.16278

721

 

Table 10 presents the descriptive statistics for people's perception of the operating standards of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) 10 years ago. The seven-item scale is relatively good to assess a single variable referred to as the operating standard of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF, α = 0.744). Generally, the sampled respondents agreed on the matter that the operating standards of the JDF were high about 10 years ago. Ten years ago, people believe that the JDF operated at a high standard, relevant to the society, members operated at a high professional standard, and they were afraid of soldiers.

Table 10:

Descriptive statistics for People’s perception of the JDF (10 years)

 

Mean

Std. Deviation

N

The JDF operates at a high standard

3.5381

1.05093

721

The operating standards of the JDF have fallen

3.2011

1.07098

721

Generally, the members of the JDF operate in a professional manner

3.4632

1.01740

721

Members of the JDF are too frequently used as police officers

3.1429

1.10321

721

The JDF is still relevant in today’s society

4.1248

.90275

721

I am afraid of soldiers

3.4854

1.20191

721

I have lost respect for the JDF because of how it operates with the public

3.1331

1.20831

721

 

Summative analyses

Table 11 presents the overall summative descriptive statistics on people’s perception of the operating standards of the JDF over 5 specific periods. The findings revealed that generally,

people are neutral on the overall operating standards of the JDF.

Table 11: Summative descriptive statistics on people’s perception of overall operating standards of the JDF

  Details

Mean

Std. Deviation

Minimum

Maximum

N

6 months ago

3.15

0.26

2.14

4.00

791

1 year ago

3.33

0.36

1.50

4.43

787

2 years ago

3.36

0.41

1.83

5.00

787

5 years ago

3.39

0.41

1.71

5.00

788

10 years ago

3.36

0.41

2.00

5.00

786

 

The public’s perception of the overall operating standards of the JDF by the resident status of sample respondents is presented in Table 12. Using an independent sample t-test, the findings revealed that irrespective of the public being residents of Jamaica or outside resident-Jamaican, there was no significant statistical difference in their perception of the overall operating standards of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). Jamaicans have a neutral perception of the overall operating standards of the JDF. This denotes that Jamaicans are indecisive about the standards of the members of the JDF who operate on the streets.

Table 12 Summative descriptive statistics on people’s perception of the operating standards of the JDF by resident status

 

Resident status

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

6 months ago

 

Jamaica

699

3.1612

.25819

.00977

Outside of Jamaica

87

3.1054

.29513

.03164

1 year ago

Jamaica

695

3.3327

.35784

.01357

 Outside of Jamaica

87

3.3205

.39681

.04254

2 years ago

 

Jamaica

696

3.3629

.39711

.01505

Outside of Jamaica

87

3.3433

.47439

.05086

5 years ago

 

Jamaica

696

3.3958

.40396

.01531

Outside of Jamaica

87

3.3859

.49053

.05259

10 years ago

Jamaica

695

3.3615

.40256

.01527

Outside of Jamaica

87

3.3415

.43483

.04662

The P-value for each of the descriptive statistics by period is greater than 0.05

 

Using an Independent sample t-test, a significant statistical difference emerged between those who had a run-in with the JDF and those who did not on the overall public’s perception of the operating standards of the JDF (P < 0.05). Those who had a run-in with the JDF indicated a low level of neutrality on the overall operating standards of the JDF (Table 13).

Table 13

Summative descriptive statistics on people’s perception of the operating standards of the JDF by resident status

 

Run-in with JDF

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

 

t value, P value

6 months ago

 

Yes

96

3.0372

.30901

.03154

 

-4.718, <0.001

No

693

3.1703

.25140

.00955

 

 

1 year ago

Yes

95

3.2404

.41286

.04236

 

-2.301, =0.012

No

690

3.3426

.35250

.01342

 

 

2 years ago

 

Yes

95

3.2326

.42445

.04355

 

-3.147, 0.001

No

690

3.3778

.40026

.01524

 

 

5 years ago

 

Yes

95

3.2539

.40029

.04107

 

-3.613, < 0.001

No

691

3.4127

.41239

.01569

 

 

10 years ago

Yes

95

3.2752

.35008

.03592

 

-2.419,0.008

No

689

3.3700

.41179

.01569

 

 

 

Descriptive statistics on the public's perception of selected operating standards of the JDF (i.e., high operating standards, operating standards of the JDF have fallen, and members of the JDF operate professionally) are presented in Table 14. The public believes that the operating standards of the JDF have fallen over time as well as the professionalism of members who operate on the streets of Jamaica. In addition, on average, the public agreed that the operating standards of the JDF have fallen.  Furthermore, the public indicated that they have lost respect for the JDF because of how it operates with the public in the last 6 months, and outside of this time, they were indecisive on the matter.

Table 14: Descriptive statistics on selected overall issues on the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF)

 The JDF operates at a high standard

The operating standards of the JDF have fallen

Generally, the members of the JDF operate in a professional manner

I have lost respect for the JDF because of how it operates with the public

1/2 year

1.9 ±0.4

3.9±0.4

1.9±0.4

2.0±0.5

1 year

3.1±1.1

2.8±1.0

3.0±1.1

3.0±1.2

2 years

3.1±1.1

2.9±1.1

3.1±1.1

3.0±1.2

5 years

3.3±1.1

2.9±1.1

3.3±1.1

3.0±1.2

10 years

3.5±1.1

3.2±1.1

3.5±1.0

3.1±1.2

 

Figure 1 depicts the sampled respondents’ views on whether the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) is accountable to the people of Jamaica. Of the sampled respondents (n=791), the response rate to the aforementioned issue is 94.56 % (n=748). Of those who responded to the question (i.e., Do you believe that the JDF is accountable to the people of Jamaica?), 72 in every 100 of them said yes.

Figure 1: The Jamaica Defence Force is accountable to the people of Jamaica

 

Table 15 presents a cross-tabulation of ‘do you believe that the JDF is accountable to the people of Jamaica?’ and the gender of the sampled respondents. The chi-square revealed that there is no significant statistical association between the two aforementioned variables (χ2 (2) = 0.129, P = 0.937). This means that the public's gender does not change its perspective on whether the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) is accountable to the people of Jamaica.

Table 15: A cross-tabulation of ‘do you believe that the JDF is accountable to the people of Jamaica?’ and the gender of the sampled respondents

 

Do you believe that the JDF is accountable to the people of Jamaica?

 

Gender

 

Total

 

Male

 

Female

 

Non-binary

 

 

 

Yes

 

% (n)

% (n)

% (n)

% (n)

72.5 (216)

71.8 (318)

66.7 (4)

72.0 (538)

 

No

 

 

 

 

27.5 (82)

28.2 (125)

33.3 (2)

28.0 (209)

 

Total

 

298

 

443

 

6

 

747

 

 

Table 16 presents a cross-tabulation of ‘do you believe that the JDF is accountable to the people of Jamaica?’ and the nationality of the sampled respondents. The chi-square revealed that there is no significant statistical association between the two aforementioned variables (χ2 (2) = 0.811, P = 0.368). This denotes that the public's nationality does not change its perspective on whether the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) is accountable to the people of Jamaica.

Table 16: A cross-tabulation of ‘do you believe that the JDF is accountable to the people of Jamaica?’ and the nationality of the sampled respondents

 

Do you believe that the JDF is accountable to the people of Jamaica?

 

Jamaica

 

Total

 

Jamaican

 

Otherwise

 

 

 

Yes

 

% (n)

% (n)

% (n)

% (n)

72.4 (524)

63.6 (14)

72.1 (538)

 

No

 

 

 

 

27.5 (82)

36.4 (8)

7.9 (208)

 

Total

 

724

 

22

 

746

 

 

Table 17 presents a cross-tabulation of ‘do you believe that the JDF is accountable to the people of Jamaica?’ the residential status (i.e., in Jamaica, Outside of Jamaica). The chi-square revealed that there is no significant statistical association between the two aforementioned variables (χ2 (2) = 0.067, P = 0.795). This denotes that the public's residential status does not change its perspective on whether the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) is accountable to the people of Jamaica.

Table 17: A cross-tabulation of ‘do you believe that the JDF is accountable to the people of Jamaica?’ and the residential status of the sampled respondents

 

Do you believe that the JDF is accountable to the people of Jamaica?

 

Jamaica

 

Total

 

In Jamaica

 

Outside of Jamaica

 

 

 

Yes

 

% (n)

% (n)

% (n)

72.1 (478)

70.7 (58)

71.9 (536)

 

No

 

 

 

 

27.9 (185)

29.3 (24)

28.1 (209)

 

Total

 

663

 

82

 

745

 

 

Figure 2 denotes a bar graph for the Public’s Perception of how the ‘The Jamaica Defence Force can bolster respect among the Public’.  The findings revealed that the majority of the public believes that the Jamaica Defence Force can bolster respect among the residents of Jamaica by ‘having an independent entity investigate incidents relating to its members (64.3%, n= 509)’, ‘responding quicker to issues following incidents involving members of the JDF (64.0%, n=507)’, ‘engaging in community activities such as building schools, roads, indigent houses etc. (61.4%, n=486) and so forth.

Figure 2:  The Public’s Perception of how the ‘The JDF can bolster respect among the Public’

 

Discussion

            The current study employed a national cross-sectional web-based descriptive research design to explore the public’s perception of the operating standards of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). The responsibility for Jamaica’s national security and sovereignty is an important task that requires serious commitment from the JDF and other stakeholders (Government of Jamaica, and; Ministry of National Security, nd). The Jamaican government’s responsibility for national security accounts for the deployment of the Jamaica Defence Force in joint military operations with the Jamaica Constabulary Force because of the violent crimes situation in the nation (Britannica, nd), and as such interacting with the public sometimes regularly. However, with that commitment comes an ongoing requirement of sustainable trust predicated on consistent operations and management during the performance of duties. Jamaicans’ trust in the JDF can be a strategic asset that could provide a competitive advantage through operation effectiveness, inter-collaboration with other public service organizations, public loyalty, dedication, cooperation, and healthy exchange relationships.

According to Britannica (nd), “The Jamaican police have been criticized for a high rate of extrajudicial killings” and so Jamaicans had a lower degree of trust for the police compared to the army (Powell, Bourne, and Waller, 2007). Hence, the security of a nation is also based on the public’s trust in the entities that are responsible for the security and protection of the populace (Fontaine, et al., 2017). It is difficult, therefore, for many crimes to be solved because of the gulf between the citizenry and the security forces (Horn, 2021; Fontaine, et al., 2017; Girardi, 2021) as would the case when the army becomes a part of the crime-fighting solution in society. Previous research shows that the success of organizations is connected to a strong level of customer trust (Fukuyama, 1995). Fukuyama (1995) noted that trust is critical in human relations and that without it; there will be no social solidarity. Therefore, the idea of distrust/trust in the service industry is complex and fragile; but explains the difficulty to address crime in societies (Goldsmith, 2005; Ohana, 2010; The Guardian, 2019; Pérez-Vincent, S. & Scartascini, 2021).

The Service industry researchers contend that effective theoretical frameworks that aid in further clarity are vital to better understanding this involved phenomenon (Flores-Macías & Zarkin, 2022; Haesebrouck, 2019; Hines et al., 2015). For this study, the OMT served as the theoretical framework for understanding the JDF’s strategies for operational and production interventions as perceived by the Jamaican public. Any service-oriented organization must focus on dual trust. Dual trust pertains to internal trust, which exists among employees and employers, while external trust exists among the organization and the public. Trust for the military profession is a critical component of its existence, not just among military personnel but also among the masses. A deduction that can be made from the current study is that different publics are losing their trust in the Jamaica Defence Force.

Establishing trust among the public requires continued engagement and demonstrations of behaviours that uphold the stated mission and values of the organization. Qualities such as discipline, military expertise and stewardship are embedded into the military's daily operations and modelled starting with the organization’s leadership. Although research shows continued support for the military in many countries and their standard operating procedures in many countries, other countries are less trusting. The history of relationships among employees and customers, organization milieu and operations influences the public’s perception of organizations in the service industry. Studies show that not only is it essential to establish trust, but more importantly, is the sustainability of that trust over time. This study sought to ascertain the public’s perception of the JDF over a decade.

           The perception of the Jamaican public toward the JDF’s operational effectiveness, including its “policing” activities and interactions with the general public, has declined. This decline occurred over the past decade, especially within the past six months. A more precise understanding of the JDF’s operations and effectiveness is critical to address among the Jamaican public. Combined with effective management and implementation of strategies to meet the intended mission and vision, the JDF should consider image rebranding to address the decline in public perception and trust. This research also highlights that the Jamaican public deems the JDF relevant and essential to the nation’s security operations. However, JDF leadership should revisit the involvement with local policing duties, as it may be an ineffective use of the JDF’s time beyond emergencies. The following conclusion and recommendations hint at the possible direction for future rebranding, public relations and operational enhancements for the JDF leadership and its general stakeholders, which includes the Jamaican public.

 

CONCLUSION

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) is a combined military of Jamaica (i.e., infantry Regiment and Reserve Corps, Air Wing, Coast Guard, and Engineering Unit) designed based on the British military model. The JDF was not designed as a paramilitary organization and so would support the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in its policing operations. Despite the traditional military structure of the Jamaica Defence Force, the organization has been deployed on the streets of Jamaica by political administrations to curb and remedy the difficulty of policing society (Jamaica Defence Force, 2021b), and this explains a justification for a public assessment of this organization.

The public is indecisive on whether the Jamaica Defence Force is too frequently used jointly with the Police Constabulary Force to police the streets of Jamaica as well as neutral on the overall operating standards of the organization. The various public indicated that members of the Jamaica Defence Force, who operate on the streets, have lowered their professionalism and high standards in the last 6 months. As such, they believe that this can be bolstered by 1) ‘having an independent entity investigate incidents relating to its members (64.3%, n= 509)’, ‘responding quicker to issues following incidents involving members of the JDF (64.0%, n=507)’, and ‘engaging in community activities such as building schools, roads, indigent houses etc. (61.4%, n=486).

 

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