Book Review: Core Values

The home my family occupied after we moved to Kingston was situated along the route taken by dignitaries on their way to Jamaica House, the Prime Minister’s official residence. As a result of this fortuitous bit of luck, we never had to join the throng at the airport eagerly awaiting Queen Elizabeth, Emperor Haile Selassie or other important visitors to our island; we merely had to wait by our gate for the motorcade and wave furiously as they drove by, escorted by the police and a line of other official cars.

I was a teenager then and although the excitement was undeniable, other issues held my attention. Jamaica was changing, an independent country gradually shedding the mantle of colonialism and on the cusp of forging a new identity. The Black Green and Gold was everywhere along with a sense of pride and all the possibilities the future held and I needed to find my place in this new country. Little did I know then how much my life would change, that in time I would be a part of that inner circle greeting official guests to Jamaica and meeting with the Prime Minister at his residence.

This then is my story, written not only as an observer but an active participant in events of the still unfolding tale that is Jamaica. To my humble parents who without treasure gave the best they had to give, a love that has solidified the bond between their children; to my wife and sons and finally to the men and women of the Jamaica Defense Force with whom I served proudly for more than half of my life. And to the active soldiers and reservists who continue to serve in this their finest calling, to defend the honor of their country.

Review by Rupert A Francis
Captain (Retd). –Professor-The Art Institute and Devry University
Core Values, is a book chronicling one soldier’s journey in the Jamaica Defense Force and his personal interpretation of events as they occurred. His depictions of events take me back to a time when I experienced some of the same stories and emotions those events evoked at the time and still do! I served many years with the author and experienced many of the events and conditions as he so expertly described. The story was  brilliantly told by him that it brought back many long forgotten  memories ( at least so I thought)  as they came flooding back into my psyche; it was as if I had entered a time capsule;  the words  evoked mostly positive and nostalgic memories. Ostensibly moments frozen in time,  now been unearthed!

In classic chronological order the book begins with his, the author’s, childhood and formative years, then he takes us through his adolescent years and school years and then skillfully tells us about his adulthood and how his past (growing up) molded his present (joining the military) and indeed his future his current position as a writer of local military history. I thought his approach was skillfully done and as a result he commented on every major milestone in both his development and that of his beloved country and the brave men and women who served in its ranks; to whom he paid glowing and much deserved tribute at every opportunity he got! .  

This is a very patriotic autobiographical book, whose author is undoubtedly a patriotic Jamaican; that has done what no other ex-serviceman has done: examined and recounted what happened in years as the new nation state of Jamaica navigated its way through some turbulent and memorable times in effort to find its true self! The book reads like a documentary, but has the appeal of a novel in parts! The author was not afraid to give his opinion on politics / politicians and/or leaders and how their performance or lack of affected this new nation’s journey. He looked at topics such as: Green Bay, Dons and Politicians, coups and/or suspected plots and counterplots, foreign and domestic relationships, local customs and beliefs, mores and folkways  ; subjects many of us are still afraid to talk about for fear of being labeled unpatriotic. As I took the assertions in, I found them to be very refreshing. Whereas, I may not and or certainly did not agree with his position and assessment in all those areas, but winced knowingly as a reader, as vivid memories raced through my mind. I found the submissions very frank, refreshing, honest, straightforward and courageous! I smiled at the thought that it was courageous; because Jamaica was and is still a very polarized country, politically and some may find the truth still an offense, but not a sin! Therefore, a book with such candor is needed and very timely!

Overall, I found all 55 chapters of this book very captivating, easy to read and rare glimpse into a truly democratic Jamaican institution-The Jamaica Defense Force! I felt that this book and its author dealt with the issues fairly and reasonably, although one could depict quite clearly where his loyalty still lies! The title of the book conjures up a pun: Core/Corps Value; which I thought was unique, well titled and fun! This book is a must read for all ex-servicemen in particular and Jamaicans on a whole. It gives a rare glimpse of a soldier’s life and journey and wonderful endorsement of what it means to be a patriotic Jamaican, carved out of numerous cultures to make us one people! This book is not only easy to read, but is a must read for all Jamaicans in all walks of life who  have been affected (directly or indirectly) by one of the most loyal devoted institutions ever formalized in Jamaica’s history: the Jamaica Defense Force; written and offered by one of its true sons: Major Stanley Ford! In essence this book is saying a much belated and seldom said thank you to an institution through its history has molded many great Jamaicans! Thank you Stanley: Great job, keep on writing! 

About the Author
Major Stanley Ford had a distinguished career in the Jamaica Defence Force. He received his initial military training at the Jamaica Defence Force Training Depot. He then went on to receive further training at The School of Infantry, Warminster, England; At the Defence, Intelligence and Security School, Ashford, England and at the Canadian Forces Staff School and Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College in Ontario, Canada. In addition to the above Major Ford has attended numerous courses on security and intelligence matters including counter terrorism and maritime security.
While serving in the Military Major Ford held such appointments as Company commander, Operations Officer Caribbean Peace Keeping Forces and Deputy Director of the National Firearms and Drug Intelligence Center of Jamaica.

 Since leaving the force Major Ford has worked as a Security Consultant to many large entities in Jamaica including the National Water Commission and the Jamaica Tourist Board. He was also a resource lecturer at the Caribbean Regional Drug Training Center at the Jamaica Police Academy.
He also lectured part time at the University of Technology (UTECH) in the faculty of the built environment where he taught Disaster Management.
He is certified as a Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO). Apart from his military qualification he has a diploma in Business Administration and Marketing from New York Business School and perused studies in Human Resource and Training at the Institute of Management and Production, Jamaica. Major Ford has recently relinquished the position of Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Border Protection Unit of Jamaica Customs, a unit he was given the responsibility to initiate and develop. For his Military service he has been awarded the Medal of Honor, General Service, Grenada and more recently the Medal of Honor for Meritorious Service to Jamaica. Major Ford is married with two sons and presently lives in Atlanta.

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