Canada and Jamaica sign defence deal

Canadian Forces will have access to Jamaican ports for military missions

Agreement allows Canadian Forces to use Jamaica as supply site

A Canadian search and rescue helicopter operates off the coast of Jamaica (David Common/CBC)

The Canadian military is establishing a foothold in the Caribbean.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay was in Jamaica today to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding allowing the Canadian Forces to set up what the military calls an operational support hub.

Mackay says the agreement guarantees Canada access to air and sea ports to bring in personnel and supplies, when needed, for everything from humanitarian assistance to anti-terrorism operations.

Canada is working to establish a network of support hubs in strategic locations around the globe.

The military has an agreement with Germany for an operations hub in Cologne.

It also operates a base in Kuwait to supply Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

Canada was forced to make those arrangements when its troops were evicted from their base at Camp Mirage in Dubai after a dispute erupted between Canada and the United Arab Emirates over landing rights for commercial airlines.

The Defence Department is reportedly in talks with Singapore to put a base there as well.

The military says its goal is to make it easier and cheaper to conduct and maintain international deployments anywhere in the world.