UK Officer Named New Regiment Commander

January 29, 2013 | 58 Comments

Foster-BrownGovernor George Fergusson announced that Lt Col Mike Foster-Brown — a British Army officer currently serving in Afghanistan — will serve as the next Commanding Officer of the Bermuda Regiment.

In a statement from Government House, Mr Fergusson said: “I am delighted that Mike Foster-Brown will be succeeding Brian Gonsalves. He will be taking over a Regiment with high levels of training and commitment, as I saw at the impressive Recruits camp last week.

“Lt Col Foster-Brown has excellent credentials to take over this role. He is currently serving in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. He has experience as Adjutant to a Territorial Battalion of his own Regiment, The Rifles.

“He has also served with distinction in Iraq, where he was mentioned in despatches for gallantry, and served earlier on, as did several members of the Bermuda Regiment, in Sierra Leone. I look forward to welcoming him here”.

The Governor added that it was his hope and expectation that Lt Col Foster-Brown’s successor in due course would be found from within the Regiment.

Mr Fergusson said: “I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the enormous commitment and professionalism of Brian Gonsalves as Commanding Officer over these past four years.

“I have been here only for the last eight months of that period, but have seen for myself the high standards, application to new roles and management with tight resources which he has achieved.”

Lt Col Brian Gonsalves will complete his current tour of duty in May and it is expected that Lt Col Foster-Brown will take over command directly. Government House noted that the appointment has been made following consultation with the Promotions Board.

The Bermuda Regiment was formed in 1965, and has had fourteen Commanding Officers to date.

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  1. Winnie Dread says:

    Hmmmmmm ok then, are we going to see the end of the regiment as it operates today,I wonder. Fulltime career soldier taking over, can anyone say new direction?

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  2. Jim Jones says:

    That dude is in for one hell of a shock.

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  3. nosir says:

    "professionalism of Brian Gonsalves as Commanding Officer over these past four years" - anybody that knows the inner workings of the regiment knows this statament to be 100% false. The power went to his head and he acted in ways above his remit. It'll be a good day when gonsalves leaves the regiment. Those who know, know.

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    • wtf says:

      well guess firing his local successors back fired. guess he faild to read the part of the defence act were he is only alowed a 5 year term.

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    • Knowledge Is Power says:

      @ nosir -- you can't be as "in the know" as you claim. Under Gonsalves' leadership:

      1) Bermuda Regiment has finally been brought to a state of modernization, with updated internal policies & procedures reflecting best practices, some of which even exceed those that exist in some private sector companies.
      2) Coastguard initiative is almost fully implemented -- this is something that has been talked about for over a decade; but under Gonsalves, it has become a reality.
      3) Defense legislation has been modernized -- it was tabled in the House in November 2012
      4) Bermuda Regiment's visibility in the community has been significantly enhanced -- under Gonsalves, there has been an increased frequency of corporate team building events held at Warwick Camp utilizing the unique expertise of Bermuda Regiment personnel (not overseas consultants) in this area. Schools regularly request the Regiment to provide similar activities.
      5) Bermuda Cadets programme, now Bermuda Regiment Junior Leaders, has been reinvigorated with over 40 young boys and girls enrolled.
      6) Cost-effective sourcing of uniform and equipment has translated into significant savings to the taxpayer. Let's not forget either that Gonsalves has successfully led the Regiment through drastic budget cuts, the like of which the Regiment has never had to undergo before.
      7) Bermuda Regiment has successfully endured the constant legal challenges surrounding B.A.D. -- Gonsalves has borne the brunt of this with little to no support from the Government. Let's remember, Gonsalves is doing his job as mandated under the Defence Act.
      8) Increased volunteerism (including women)
      9) Information accessibility drastically improved with new website -- if you haven't been on the Regiment website, suggest you visit!
      10) Improved active participation with other services -- police, fire, prison, customs, marine & ports, Immigration, Outward Bound, Red Cross, Mirrors, etc.

      Under Gonsalves, ACCOUNTABILITY and OWNERSHIP of one's actions and responsibilities has improved 100% across the board, regardless of rank. This is something we as a country constantly say we want to see espoused by all those in positions of authority. Power hasn't gone to Gonsalves' head; he has simply done his job under the provisions of the Defence Act, Governor's Orders and the Bermuda Regiment Standing Orders. He has not acted above his remit; he has fulfilled his remit.

      Gonsalves is one of the very few CO's who is a soldier's soldier. He leads by example. On overseas camps, he lives in the field alongside the soldiers; he does all the PFTs, APWTs, and CFTs...and passes! He doesn't ask a soldier to do anything he wouldn't do himself.

      Well done Lt. Col Gonsalves. You should be proud of all that you've accomplished!

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      • wondering says:

        whilst all of this is an impressive list of accomplishments, lest we not forget HOW one achieved this with cunningness, guile and last but not least borderline immoral tenacity that stunk of bias, self promotion, secretive personal wants for "Brian's Army"- like hs personal wants for an expensive new weapon system - that isn't really needed.

        It is one thing to do it truly for country/organization but another to do it for self glory....the more medals i get the more important a man i am?.....go figure...

        contradictory statement but true(**).... this list is no doubt published by someone who is in the know, subservient to BG fr an overpaid job but ALSO bound by the defence act and is breaking a number of the standing orders by communicating with the public.....something the Marshall/Hardtman duo were convicted of under the defence act. all that to say this(**)....they use a penname to avoid administrative action being taken....imagine that! transparency ha!

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        • Concerned says:

          Why is it when one accomplishes something through honesty, hard work and so on - people come up with descriptions as you have used: cunningness, guile, immoral, bias,secrecy and so on.... seems it takes one to know one. Let us be encouraging our men who are willing to do the Job as given to them, beyond and above. Wonder what you would have said if it would have been a man of color

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          • WeAreChristianSoldiersLOL says:

            "Wonder what you would have said if it would have been a man of color" -- Spoken like a true Bermudian soldier. Full of racist tendencies and off-the-wall comments. The truth hurts. Brian was anything but honest in my personal dealings with him

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  4. C'mon says:

    This is interesting. So the OBA promotions board allows a foreigner to come in.

    Nice one OBA

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    • O.B. says:

      Don't mislead. The Regiment is headed by the Governor, not the OBA.

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    • Private says:

      First off the promostions board has nothing to do with the OBA. Secondly, the fella who was supposed to replace the current Lt. Col passed away, who was a Bermudian. This fella meets the requirements to fill the position.

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    • victor says:

      How dreadful, a real, battle hardened soldier, for once.

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    • Bermy Gooner says:

      Just like the PLP commissioned the sales of three of our four banks to foreign entities while also issuing billion worth of debt to overseas financial institutions.

      We can talk about the millions upon millions of taxpayers money spent on foreign consultants. How about we start with Global Hue?

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      • Hmmmmm says:

        How the f#k does this get into a story on the Regiment? And by the way "our..banks" ? That's not a sense of ownership shared by the majority of this population. "Our banks" found out that they didn't have clue about banking and that's why they're foreign owned now. You may have scared your government into temporary submission on consultants, but mark my words, if they want to get anything done they'll soon figure out how. Ask Crock to tell you what he found in tourism that made him send a fast car for Corey......Your "our banks" thinking goes perfectly with the arrogance that suggests all the expertise we need is contained between St. David's and Dockyard.

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        • mixitup says:

          Its their paranoia....that's how As soon as the word foreigner/expat pops up, they go into defense mode for them. As soon as "Bermudian" pops up, they automatically go into bash mode (those lazy, uneducated, PLPers) sad but true, but it does make you wonder the type that are out there.

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      • Truth says:

        THe PLP didn't sell the banks. The Board sold the Bank of Bermuda to HSBC. Senior Managment were well paid in the transaction. The Board of BNTB recapitalized the Bank when the former management lost 90% of the share value. Neither event had anything to do with the PLP. Truth.

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        • street wise says:

          And thousands of ordinary people here lost all their money as a result of the gross mismanagement of the BNTB. And no one was held accountable for the stock crash. There seems to be NO ACCOUNTABILITY AT ALL IN BERMUDA!

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        • Who wrote the report? says:

          The Government of the day had to approve the sales of the Banks to foreign owned entities....

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        • Truth Be Told says:

          The government had to approve and lift the 60 /40 rule allowing it. I believe that's what they meant by that comment.

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        • Concerned says:

          PLP invested Pension money into the bank, Citibank and I believe Canadian bank assisted BNTB and somewhere I read that Citi was taking action against BNTB - I stand to be corrected.

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  5. Vulpes says:

    I wonder if this Col -- blessings.

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  6. plato says:

    ServIng in Helmand province huh....are we expecting a Taliban insurgency soon?
    Don!t forget...major wheddon was next in line for ext C.O. Until he killed in a car crash in UK last year

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  7. Hmmmmm says:

    May Chris Wheddon rest in peace. The real issue is why the Regiment doesn't have the depth to produce a local colonel at this time. If Wheddon had lived but said he wasn't interested, this situation would've been the same. That is the real issue here and the Governor should explain who and how the Regiment has been left in such a sorry state. Remember the colonel is appointed for 2 years and so Gonsalves has had two tours to produce a successor and obviously failed. Ask some questions why don't you. Rule Britannia.

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    • Knowledge Is Power says:

      @ Hmmmmm -- you've forgotten about George Jones who was to succeed Gonsalves but decided to retire from the Regiment to focus on his civilian career. So Gonsalves actually produced two successor candidates that we know of during his tenure.

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      • wondering says:

        BG did not create George Jones nor Chris Wheddon as successors, they put the hard work in to reach their goals and unfortunately fate had other ideas.......George improved greatly during hs time in the UK TA and so did Chris....two good guys! nothing to directly do with BG. his leadership was an example (good or bad or indifferent) but it did not create them as successors......remember BG was overlooked twice for the job...so was he created by a process of elimination and not by his achievements?

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        • 09872 says:

          "BG was overlooked twice for the job…so was he created by a process of elimination and not by his achievements" - LMAO! Funny stuff. Hopefully Knowledge is Power stops drinking Brian's kool-aid and sees the forest for the trees. The regiment will be a better place without him...

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      • Rockfish #2 says:

        @ Knowledge is power,

        Have you had a conversation with Jones recently? You need to be updated.

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  8. hehe says:

    maybe we can better use his skill to terrorize the thugs?

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  9. scary says:

    The whole thing should be revamped into a volunteer national guard type entity. Stop forcing people to be there that don't want to. Train the ones that do and let them do the service to their country with pride rather than with attitude!!!

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    • Truth Be Told says:

      I agree...sort of. I believe every young male and female should have to serve their country. However, do they all need to serve in the regiment and for three years?! I know of two men that decided to put off going to college and university overseas until they got the regiment "thing" out of the way as they didn't want to have to deal with at the age of 23+ and be out at age 27+ They never made it which is sad because by the time they were done with the Regiment, they were making good money in construction and decided not to go. Today they are regretting it!

      I would rather our youth have the option to dedicate one year or two MAX to serving the community through the regiment, police, St Johns, Pink Ladies, SPCA, Big Bothers & Sisters, KBB, Blood Donor Clinic, PALS, or any of the dozens of Charities that serve the community and are hurting for volunteers!!!!

      Please think this whole regiment thing. It was for the most part a waste of time. Each week we played the HURRY UP, THEN WAIT GAME! Very little outside of the two week camp was accomplished or even taught during my time there.

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  10. What Do You THink says:

    The Regiment getting some teeth :) I should resign up

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  11. indeed says:

    Now bring more of them down from Iraq and replace the ignorant and rude barbadian police force.

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  12. It's Hit the Fan says:

    Well Well Well if you all don't know im feeling for you iraq is all im saying. I did way over three years.Dont know how many will leave in his term lol.

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  13. Rockfish #2 says:

    Is this a joke?

    Last Saturday the Recruit Camp Passing Out Parade was held at Warwick Camp. The soldiers were as usual, told that in order to reach the top of the Bermuda Regiment, they would need to pass the Junior Non Commissioned Officers Cadre.

    Additionaly, the families and friends were told 50% of the recruits volunteered for this course.

    Now they discover that they were not told the truth, and that the Governor had a plan in place to parachute an Englishman in to head the Regiment.

    Would anyone be surprised if they dropped out? What happened to the large number of Bermudian officers who studied and trained overseas at great expense to the taxpayer?

    The Regiment at one time was over 600 strong, and was embodied on at least 6 occasions while headed by Bermudians who were part timers.

    A reminder, The Governor(who is responsible for deciding who will head the Regiment), Minister of Public Safety Dunkley, and Baron the Junior Minister were in attendance.

    History will be made, this man will be the first non Bermudian CO of the Bermuda Regiment!

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  14. Common Sense says:

    When the Bermuda Regiment has a local CO he is paid a salary (maybe around $150,000 - $175,000. In the interest of transparency can we the tax payers be told from the outset what it is going to cost us to pay to bring in an overseas CO. Will he, for example be paid a housing allowance? Will he be paid an allowance for serving overseas?! How much more is it going to cost us to have someone brought in from overseas and who will pay all these expenses?

    It's a sad fact that Chris Wheddon was being trained as next in line for this position but it's very disappointing to hear that we have no-one else who can step up to the plate. This is a sign of poor management. Whether this has anything to do with the Government of the day is doubtful, but this is not something we can blame on the newly elected OBA

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    • wondering says:

      the regiment has a suitably qualified individual who is on the full time roster but a specialist officer...the def act is purposely not being manipulated to prevent him from taking over. i served with WSF and he could do the job....guess that is his just reward for serving with BG

      look at teh higher echelon of officers now.....ex RAF bermudian, ex RAF married to bermudian ex british army, ex british army...getting 100 000 plus a year to bluff their way through the day

      we have failed to have a succession plan that is enticing. not biased and sustainable

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  15. tired of the petty people says:

    Get this guy onto the gang violence here ... great to have someone with real experience out there.

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  16. Bobmarlin says:

    I bet the Marshall's like this appointment.Well done Governor Ferguson,have him put together a platoon to go after the gang bangers!

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  17. When it hits home says:

    Becareful what you ask for or dont complain when you get it they are all gangs,wen a gun is pointed at you by the law remember that's what you wanted and with my training over the 8 years i was up there we are like butter when it comes to training.

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  18. Oh Please says:

    I guess this is his reward for being a loyal servant. A job in paradise. I can only assume there aren't any locals available for the position.

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  19. For the record their remains qualified serving senior officers who should have been considered before an overseas officer was hired My question is why it is necessary to choose someone who has no knowledge of Bermuda or our culture. He has extensive combat experience and is coming here to run an army which is primarily used for ceremonial purposes. Someone needs to explain why we are not buying Bermuda!

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  20. Nuffin but de Truth! says:

    Perhaps the Governor can send Col to take his position over in Helmand Province, Afghanistan?

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  21. Hazel says:

    Not to change the topic but is the prison service next for a new commander? JUS'ASKIN!

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    • Jim Jones says:

      Brian had a carrer in IB before going full time at the regiment. I would imagine he would look to get back into that. Let Eddie keep that bloody prison.

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  22. tryitout says:

    For those crying that they won't like it, how about you go and try it out. There are so many stories of people who thought they wouldn't like it and are still in camp 20 and 30 years later. Give it a try.
    The one thing that I would advise the Regiment should do is cut the required time by a year. That would allow for the required training and then allow for the recruit to enjoy the department in which he chooses to transfer into. That should be enough time to learn whether or not you like the regiment life or not.
    Without conscription these guys are like babies; unwilling to try a new food or medicine out of fear that thy will not like it. Stop babying them and allow them to grow up. Allow them to get some discipline in their lives. It seems that some of them don't learn an ounce of discipline from home.

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  23. tryitout says:

    By the way. Congrats to Mr Foster-Brown. Hopefully he gets through to a few of the future recruits and a few of the future leaders that will be groomed from within the Regiment.

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  24. Good Stuff says:

    I'm looking forward to this! The Rifles eh? Awesome!

    Surprised there are still so many Regiment bashers out there... Then again I hated it until my 2nd year. Now I'm looking at signing on for a bit longer; given some of the new initiatives. Now the worse thing about it is the weekly drive to Warwick after work...

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  25. Bindia says:

    Lt. Col. Mike Foster-Brown - an outstanding bloke and soldier. Congratulations to him and to the Regiment.

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