Colonel Telbert L. A. Benjamin will on March 20, 2020 assume the duties of Chief of Defence Staff of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force, when Colonel Sir Trevor Thomas retires from active service after over forty (40) years in the military.
Colonel Telbert Benjamin, a graduate of the University of the West Indies, Webster University and the United States Army Command and General Staff College, who was introduced to the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda on Wednesday by Colonel Sir Trevor Thomas, told the members of the Executive branch of government that he was ready to serve the nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
“I am humbled for this opportunity and I do not take it lightly. It has been a long journey, but I am prepared for it. I followed friends and joined the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force but I have fallen in love with the force and what it offers for the nation of Antigua and Barbuda and so I look forward to the opportunity to serve and work along with the government of Antigua and Barbuda. Thank you very much for the opportunity and I look forward to serving the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda,” Colonel Benjamin told the members of Cabinet.
Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne and members of Cabinet showered praise on outgoing Chief of Defence Staff, Colonel Sir Trevor Thomas outlining that he was a model servant of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda and that they look forward to his continued service to the government and nation of Antigua and Barbuda in a new posting. The Cabinet told Colonel Benjamin that he should emulate Sir Trevor Thomas, and in the process transform the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force to meet impending challenges.
Incoming Chief of Defence Staff, Colonel Telbert L. Benjamin enlisted in the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force in 1995 and has held numerous appointments to include Platoon Commander 1997 to 2002, Tactical Advisor to the Commissioner of Police for CWC 2007 from 2006 to 2007, Company Commander from 2007 to 2009, Staff Officer Operations and Training in the Force HQ from 2009 to 2019, and Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Antigua Barbuda Regiment from 2019 to 2020.
In addition to the appointments mentioned, he was the liaison officer to the Conference of the Armies of the Americas (CAA) from 2010 to 2017 and Liaison Officer to the Conference of Defence Ministers of the Americas from 2013 to 2017. Colonel Benjamin has also been a member of the directing staff of the Regional Security System Staff and Command course, eventually rising to the post of Academic Director.
In addition, to the major training events, Colonel Benjamin has been deployed in support of regional security efforts on multiple occasions. He first deployed in Grenada in support of the Caribbean Disaster Response Unit in 2004 following the impact of Hurricane Ivan, he subsequently deployed in support of the Regional Security System in 2005 in Barbados and 2009 to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. As a member of the military staff, he has supported the deployment of personnel to Haiti in 2010, and the Commonwealth of Dominica in 2015.
Colonel Benjamin is the recipient of several awards and commendations to include; the Meritorious Service Medals for Service in Grenada in 2004 and Barbados in 2005. In addition, he is the recipient of the CAA Medal for service to the organization and the hemisphere.
He is a widower and a father of two children, Cathia and Liam.
Colonel Benjamin assumes duties as head of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force during a Change of Command Parade to be held at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on 20th March, the first of its kind in the history of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force.