Minister Caines On Elimination Of Conscription

November 8, 2017 | 15 Comments

“It is necessary to bring the 2015 amendments into force first and to thereafter amend the Act to further, and finally end conscription,” Minister of National Security Wayne Caines said, adding that “the most likely course is that I will bring the elimination of conscription into force in April 2018 to coincide with the new fiscal year.”

Minister Caines said, “Previous Administrations have promised to eliminate conscription. For various reasons that was never accomplished.

“In keeping with this Government’s pledge to ensure the modernization of Bermuda and her institutions, the public will recall that in the 2017 Speech from the Throne, this Government promised to “..amend the Defence Act 1965 in consultation with the Governor to officially end conscription [into] the Royal Bermuda Regiment within this legislative session.”

“This Government is intent on keeping its promises and delivering on them for the people of Bermuda. In 2015 the previous Administration amended the 1965 Defence Act, principally to revise the Regiment’s disciplinary regime. In part, the 2015 amendments include:

  • removing potentially confusing and gender-based terminology throughout;
  • removing references to the repealed UK Army Act 1955, from the Bermuda Defence Act 1965, and replace [where necessary] with references to the UK Armed Forces Act 2006;
  • giving all those charged with a military offence the right to elect for trial by court of summary jurisdiction instead of a hearing with the Commanding Officer; and
  • Regularising the fines and punishments to be imposed in the event of disciplinary hearings.

Minister Wayne Caines Bermuda Nov 7 2017--

“The amendments to the Act were passed in the Legislature with bipartisan support but were not brought into force. The operation of these amendments was delayed whilst the Regiment trained commanders and all those engaged at various levels in the new process.

“This is now complete and I am pleased to advise the public that by a Commencement Notice gazetted last week, these amendments are now in force with effect from the 1st of November.

“The 2015 amendments to the Act continued to provide a means of conscription where a requisite number of volunteers were not attracted in any given year. In particular, section 4 of the Act provided that the Regiment shall be raised and maintained by means of voluntary enlistment, BUT where voluntary enlistment proved inadequate for the raising or maintenance of the Regiment, by means of compulsory military service.

“For the sake of good order, it is necessary to bring the 2015 amendments into force first and to thereafter amend the Act to further, and finally end conscription. This will provide the Regiment with the opportunity to effect a full transition to an all-volunteer force. The Attorney General’s Chambers will shortly be requested to draft the necessary amendments and I expect to bring them to the House in the New Year.

“They too will have a commencement provision and the most likely course is that I will bring the elimination of conscription into force in April 2018 to coincide with the new fiscal year.

“On a personal note, I served as an officer in the Regiment, retiring as a Captain and I could not be more proud of the Battalion and the important role it has played in this community. This move to eliminate conscription is a critical step in modernizing the organization and transforming it into a broader career choice for Bermudians.

“Work has already begun to usher in the reality of a Regiment marine unit responsible for inshore maritime patrolling. Our aim is to grow the role of the Regiment by relieving other security services of responsibilities that are more theirs by tradition rather than reflective of their core function.

“In discussions with the Governor and the Commanding Officer, I have outlined a long term goal of creating a civil defence force model where we have well trained men and women of the Regiment able to function in all areas of the security services, providing redundancy capability to supplement existing resources as necessary.

“As part of today’s announcement I am urging able-bodied men and women to take early advantage of the opportunities this may present. The Regiment is advertising now for volunteers and I lend my voice and support to that effort. Volunteering today may be the first step in a challenging and rewarding career in this branch of public service.”

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Comments (15)

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  1. aceboy says:

    Stop picking the low hanging fruit and get on with solving our debt issues.

  2. wondering says:

    i suppose this means some full time staff will be out of work soon as there is no fiscally responsible way you can pay even a section of soldiers 65k per year AND benefits/entitlements without cutting some of the 100k plus cush posts at WC

  3. southampton says:

    I believe that removing conscription is completely and utterly stupid.
    These young men today need more discipline and learn the values of life.
    It is obvious that a lot of them are not learning anything from their parents.

    So a soldier does 2 weeks basic training and some weekend camps also travel
    to the United States or Jamaica for training camps. BIG DEAL. Does that really
    take that much freedom from their precious lifestyle?

    After removing conscription, I hope that the Royal Bermuda Regiment can maintain its manpower.

    I CONGRATULATE AND AM PROUD OF THE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN WHO VOLUNTEER TO SERVE
    IN THE ROYAL BERMUDA REGIMENT.

    I volunteered to join the United States Army many years ago. I am glad I did.
    It taught me so much about becoming a man, respecting others and discipline.

    KEEP VOLUNTEERING YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN OF BERMUDA. BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COMMUNITY AND BERMUDA.

    • wondering says:

      this right here is the problem – you along with many others feel this is a solve our problems mechanism. we need to fix our “y.o.b.” status that is so prevalent. conscription is not a social engineering experiment/tool. it is a manpower mechanism that infringes on the rights of those ill equipped to be exempted from service as conscientious objectors and trust me – i served my country as a conscript so i know ( i wasn’t against the service) but agree that it is against those who feel their human rights are being trampled and the regt is better off with volunteers who wnat to be there

    • PBanks says:

      If people are volunteering then there’s no need to even have conscription on the books. Bermuda’s not the only country in the world that will not have a conscription policy.

      Regiment’s gone a couple of years now without having to conscript anybody. No reason that will change, considering the PR pushes and benefit offerings that the organisation’s done in recent years.

  4. frank says:

    just think how much money the government could save if they cut out a
    lot of those toy soldiers wages.
    a full time regiment is a waste of money I would shut it all down
    and sell the land

  5. frank says:

    the regiment is a waste of money

    • Southampton says:

      Maybe you are a waste of education you fool.

      • Flat Tire says:

        It is a waste. Yes it has its merits but what is our real return on our investment? What do they do for most of the year when camp is out? Be honest.

    • puzzled says:

      And to be frank; so are you.

    • Maybe the regiment is a waste of our money and should go!!why stop there and go after the M.Ps and the civil servants also..

    • wahoo says:

      Agreed, if anything we should have a coast guard/navy it would make more sense and be useful for drug interdiction (if anyone is interested in that sort of thing) and rescue. Same discipline would apply.

    • Bill says:

      Frank
      You sound like a waste of time
      Go back home to where you came from

  6. Thank God above that this intelligent gentleman is MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY. He has done and will continue to do a great job FOR THE PEOPLE…NOT like being in power and being the national security of this country and not involving self in that pepper spray issue….not to be forgotten(the dirt).
    Great job, Caines!!!
    Continue to serve all and not a selected group of people…so idiotic(oba) and myopic!!!

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