SOLDIERS at Camp Ogden yesterday refused breakfast, which consisted of pancakes and leftover tuna from Sunday’s breakfast, saying they are fed up and not encouraged to eat the meals they are offered. The soldiers, who complained bitterly last week about being served rice and dhal for lunch, as well as pancakes and curried channa for breakfast, yesterday described the situation as alarming.
“This is too much for us. We are being treated in this inhumane way and yet we do not foresee any light at the end of the tunnel. Nobody is telling us anything, we do not know if the situation will improve, but it has reached the stage where we might have to go on a hunger strike to send a message to the authorities,” a soldier said yesterday.
Newsday understands that an emergency meeting was held last Friday by top brass of the Defence Force in an effort to find ways and means of improving on the food served to soldiers.
According to well-placed sources, the meeting was chaired by Chief of Defence Staff Commander Hayden Pritchard, who expressed concern and asked seniors to find innovative means of improving meals.
Yesterday, Defence Force public affairs officer Flight Lt Monique Sprott confirmed the meeting chaired by Pritchard last Friday on soldiers’ meals.
“There were other meetings held during the course of last week, some releases were received and there is a more comprehensive approach to ensure that soldiers’ feeding is not a recurrent situation going from crisis to crisis,” Sprott said.
Sources said attempts will be made to purchase additional supplies so better meals could be provided next month. Newsday understands $17 million was allocated in the last budget for meals for soldiers, but only $4 million has been released by the Ministry of Finance.