About Us 




The Barbados Defence Act (1979) created a body of Her Majesty’s forces to be known as the Barbados Defence Force consisting of a regular Force; a reserve Force to be known as the Barbados Defence Force Reserve; and a Cadet Force.

The Force is structured as follows:

  • Headquarters Barbados Defence Force
  • The Barbados Regiment, the land forces element of the Force made up of regular and reserve subunits
  • The Barbados Coast Guard, the maritime element of the Force made up of regular and reserve subunits.
  • The Youth Development Wing, which comprises the Barbados Cadet Corps and the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme

The Barbados Defence Force is responsible for the defence of Barbados and such other duties as the Defence Board determines. The Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force is, subject to the directions of the Governor-General, responsible for the operational use of the Force, but the Prime Minister may, where no directions have been given by the Governor-General, give to the Chief of Staff directions with respect to the operational use of the Barbados Defence Force in Barbados for the purposes of maintaining and securing public order and public safety, as the Prime Minister thinks fit; and the Chief of Staff shall comply with those directions.

The BDF is totally committed to assisting with national development, particularly through the training of the nation’s youth. To this end, the command and training of the units of the Barbados Cadet Corps are the responsibility of the officers and non-commissioned officers of the Barbados Defence Force who are posted or attached therefor to the Cadet Corps.

Although there is a large degree of specialisation within the Force, all ranks are trained in a common set of core disciplines which enables them to function in the many roles assigned to the Force.

The BDF is frequently engaged in humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations in addition to providing assistance to the Civil Power and Civil Ministries, along with performing its ceremonial duties. As a member of the Regional Security System (RSS), the BDF has rendered assistance during the  Grenada intervention in 1983, in response to the Jama’at al-Muslimeen coup in Trinidad in 1990 and between 1994 and 1996 in Haiti. The Force also assisted Jamaica in 1988, Montserrat 1989 and Grenada in 2004 during the aftermath of hurricanes Gilbert, Hugo and Ivan respectively.  More recently the Force conducted disaster relief operations to Dominica in 2015 and 2017 in the aftermath of the passage of Tropical Storm Erica and Hurricane Maria respectively.

Command Element

Chief of Staff

Commodore Errington R. Shurland

Commodore (Cdre) Errington Ricardo Shurland was appointed Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) on 1 September 2021.  He enlisted in the BDF in February 1984 and in a military career spanning over 34 years, has served in various operational and administrative appointments.

Cdre Shurland is a graduate of the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England and the Command and General Staff College of the United States Army, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  He holds a Master’s degree in Maritime Administration from the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden.  He is also certified in Elections Management and Mediation from the American University and the University of Windsor respectively.

Deputy Chief of Staff

Commander Aquinas Clarke

Commander Aquinas Joseph Clarke joined the regular Force on 1 Jul 93. He received his early education at the St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Primary School and the Louis Lynch Secondary School (formerly the Roebuck Secondary School). After leaving secondary school he attended the Barbados Community College and the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Campus.Commander Clarke enlisted in the Barbados Defence Force on 1 Sep 91 as a member of the Barbados Defence Reserve and transferred to the regular Force on 1 Jul 93, on completion of his academic studies at the Barbados Community College.He successfully completed basic officers’ training at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM), UK in 1994. In 2001 he attended junior staff training at the Caribbean Junior Command and Staff College in Jamaica where he was awarded top student…

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Force Sergeant Major

Master Chief Petty Officer 1
Austin Howell


Master Chief Petty Officer Class 1 Austin R Howell was born on 10 October 1970 and joined the reserve element of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) in September 1987. He recruited and was transferred to the full-time element of the BDF in September 1989 and was posted to the then Commando Squadron at Paragon Base. He was promoted to the rank of lance corporal in December 1992, to the rank of corporal in August 1995; to the rank of sergeant in December 1999; to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in August 2007, to the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer Class 2 in August 2013 and Master Chief Petty Officer Class 1 in April 2017…

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