Distinguished by their unwavering strength, unequivocal beauty, and unmatched grace and poise, the esteemed members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Mounted Troop Division, along with their equine partners, were a welcome addition to the pageantry of the February 15 Ceremonial Opening of Parliament. As the Governor General’s escort, the horse-riding cops drew looks of excitement from attendees and left many in awe at the event, which marked the commencement of the 2024–2025 parliamentary year at the George William Gordon House.

The Mounted Troop is the oldest unit within the JCF and dates back to 1911, when it was first established in the Kingston Central area. It was disbanded in 1940 due to a lack of equipment, horses, and adequate training. An attempt to re-established was made in 1959 under the tutelage of the then Commissioner of Police, L.R. Browning. The undertaking was not successful until a year later, when Assistant Superintendent James Wright selected and trained eight horsemen for duties at the Elletson Road Police Station. After his retirement, the government of Jamaica moved the troop to Up Park Camp in 1962, and to date, that is where the unit calls home.

Their participation in ceremonial parades and leading the procession for state funerals are just a few of the core functions of the division.

Head of the Mounted Troop, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Collin Roberts, explains that aside from these ceremonial responsibilities, it is also tasked with mounted patrol duties, crowd control, and supporting other policing divisions based on operational needs.

He also added that they are heavily involved in exhibitions and displays at both schools and community functions across Jamaica; they are also community-based police officers.

Since its reintroduction over 60 years ago, it has continued to carry out its mandate with distinction, he said.

The ultimate goal of the Mounted Troop Division, according to Sergeant Audley Banks, is perfection; therefore, extra care and attention to detail go into every parade’s preparation. For ceremonial duties, the horses are specially groomed and then adorned with various accoutrements.

To underscore the significance of this task in comparison to their duties elsewhere, they are typically adorned with their ceremonial blanket, crown, JCF breast plate, and white rope, among other items. Like their four-legged companions, the horsemen are also uniquely attired. They are decked out in their specially constructed ceremonial tunic, complete with a sash, and carry a sword or lance for this assignment.

The greatest riders’ skill set is needed for this crucial responsibility, and it continues to be maintained. This is proven by the excellent discipline and expertise that the riders exhibit, as demonstrated by veteran horsemen Sergeants Everal Alexander (15 parliament rides), Damion Thomas (14 rides), Lemuel Reid (14 rides), and Corporal Craig Lee (14 rides).

These experienced riders, who uphold high standards of perfection and foster a spirit of teamwork, serve as mentors to the younger riders. Constable Jason Maria, who had just completed his maiden ceremonial duty, acknowledged that it was an incredibly nerve-wracking but fulfilling experience. Christopher Starchan, who was on his second parliament ride, noted that the experience was unlike any other and that it gave them an immense joy to perform for those in attendance. The pair expressed their profound appreciation for the direction and support meted out to them, stating that they would not have been successful without it.

The Mounted Troop Division operates primarily out of the corporate area, with the goal of expanding its expertise and reach throughout the entire Jamaica. Their belief is that this ideal will be realised with support from both domestic and international partners. Until then, they vow to continue to serve the people of Jamaica, one event at a time.