[Updated] Speaking at this evening’s [Oct 17] PLP event at the Ruth Seaton James auditorium, Premier Paula Cox indicated that the election would be held this year, and also said they are “committed” to “move away from mandated conscription.”
The Premier did not expand on the conscription topic during her 45-minute speech, saying only: “And we are committed to having a full time Regiment, with a paid cadre of officers and to move away from mandated conscription.”
A quick soundbite is below [please excuse the questionable quality, full video to come later!]
The policy of conscripting young men to serve in the Bermuda Regiment has been in the news for some time, with the group Bermudians Against the Draft [BAD] leading the anti-conscription movement. BAD took the case against conscription all the way to the British Privy Council, which upheld conscription in 2010.
In last year’s Throne Speech, the Government pledged to “review a recent decision by the Privy Council to take account of any inconsistencies in any discrimination provisions. Second, the Government will table legislation that makes provision for new alternatives to conscription, including the introduction of a National Youth Service.”
Update 11.58pm: When asked about the Premier’s statement, a Bermuda Regiment spokesperson said there are currently 27 full time military personnel employed by the Regiment.
“We actively try to recruit volunteers [tv, paper, electronic media advertisement]; and conscription remains a governmental matter,” said the Regiment.
“No matter the composition of the Regiment the Commanding Officer will still expect each soldier and officer to fulfil their duties as directed in the Defence Act and Governor’s Orders. Conscripted and volunteer soldiers are given the same opportunities and treated with the same level of professionalism by their chain of command.”
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- Premier Signals Election To Be Held This Year | Bernews.com | October 18, 2012