Soldier jailed for deserting JDF 17 years ago

May 17, 2021
A JDF vehicle on the streets of Kingston.
A JDF vehicle on the streets of Kingston.

It's almost five months since Charmaine Hayden last set eyes on her common-law husband, Rolan Griffiths, and his absence is taking a toll on their family.

Griffiths was picked up at their Thornton, St Elizabeth, home, by members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and taken to Up Park Camp in Kingston, where he has been in detention ever since. While the army's communication spokesperson Lieutenant Nathan Curtis was unreachable by telephone yesterday, THE STAR understands Griffiths is accused of deserting the JDF 17 years ago when he was a soldier.

The 39-year-old allegedly left the force without being discharged in 2003. Hayden said that she gave birth to their second child the day before he was arrested and taken to military jail. She said the baby has been in hospital since.


"Me would like to go to the hospital to visit the baby everyday but me caah go because me don't have the money, and me caah really pressure myself too much. At least if Rolan was here he could go to look for the baby and such," the distraught Hayden said.

Griffiths was a private for two years in the JDF before he allegedly left the force without permission in 2003. His matter has been in trial since February.

"Him not being here affects me very bad because a people me affi beg for stuff," said the unemployed mother.

"Somebody from the JDF did come down here and bring some stuff for my two-year-old baby, but me still need Rolan around," she said.

Hayden said Griffiths had joined the JDF because of his passion for the profession, but things didn't go the way he hoped.

"He loved being a solider and saw a way to take care of his family through it, but since he left he was just in the country doing his little farming and stuff like that, and being happy," Hayden said

Her plea is for the JDF to allow the ex-soldier to be quickly reunited with his family.

"Me miss him and the kids need him too," Hayden said.

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