Eight Former Regiment COs Back Conscription

December 10, 2013

“To abolish conscription is not in the best interests of Bermuda,” according to a letter signed by eight former Commanding Officers of the Bermuda Regiment.

The letter said “conscription does not violate human rights and it does not enslave anyone” and asked “Are the moves towards recruitment solely by volunteers the response to an action group advocating to abolish conscription?”

“A full-time volunteer unit will require substantial uplifts in pay scales to attract the number needed. It will cost substantially more to fund the Regiment as a result. Taxpayer costs will rise. This, too, is contrary to our best interests,” continued the letter.

warwick-camp-regiment-generic banner

The letter went on to say that the group “will try to act as spokesmen for the Regiment over the next few months, to rebut some of the untruths and specious arguments that are being advanced, and to help the community understand how grievous the loss will be if the Regiment is thrown on the scrapheap to appease an anti-conscription lobby that has no legal credibility.”

“We mean no disrespect to those we will be opposing. Indeed, it will be difficult for soldiers who have been brought up in an atmosphere of respect and neutral service to engage in any kind of campaign at all. However, we feel circumstances warrant our current course of action – indeed, we would be remiss in our duty to the unit if we failed to speak up,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by eight of the eleven living former Commanding Officers: Lt Col Michael Darling, Lt Col CE Raynor, Lt Col Gavin Shorto, Lt Col Allan Rance, Lt Col Patrick Outerbridge, Lt Col David Gibbons, Lt Col William White and Lt Col Brian Gonsalves. The remaining COs whose names do not appear on the letter are Lt Col Brendan Hollis, Lt Col Edward Lamb and Lt Col David Burch.

Conscription first began in Bermuda under the all white Bermuda Rifles in 1957, and the all black Bermuda Militia Artillery began conscripting in 1960. The integrated Bermuda Regiment, which started in 1965, began with conscription in place.

Both political parties have spoken in favour of abolishing conscription, it has been included in the last three Throne Speeches and last month the PLP attempted to table an Opposition Bill abolishing conscription.

Speaking last month Minister of Public Safety Michael Dunkley said “no one can question my commitment and that of the Government to the elimination of conscription.”

“Conscription will be eliminated and the Regiment preserved. It will happen this session and the timelines will be set to reflect the future requirements of the institution and not any version of its past,” said the Minister.

While not mentioned by name, it appears the letter was referencing the anti-conscription group Bermudians Against the Draft, who have campaigned to end to conscription for the past few years. We expect to have a response from BAD’s Larry Marshall Sr later this week.

The full statement from the Commanding Officers is below:

The recruitment process by which the Bermuda Regiment sustains its strength has been maligned in recent years to such an extent that our political establishment wishes to make a change.

The process being used at the moment is that in the first instance volunteers are sought. If there are insufficient volunteers then conscription is used.

Conscription has served a very important purpose to recruit the number of people required for the Regiment to fulfill its roles. The Regiment has four roles listed in the Defence Act. The first and most important is to support the Police in time of civil unrest or disobedience.

To carry out this role the Regiment requires more than 400 personnel of all ranks. The number of people volunteering to join the Regiment annually has been fewer than 30.

Some of those only volunteer because they believe they will otherwise be conscripted at a future time. If conscription is abolished then where are the necessary personnel going to come from? Not volunteers.

The vast majority of the officers, warrant officers and senior N.C.O.s, past and present, came from the ranks of the conscripted, and most would not otherwise have served. If conscription is abolished where will the Regiment find sufficient numbers with the potential to be its future leaders? Not from volunteers.

Abolish conscription and the Regiment will downsize by attrition to become ineffective for its role. This is Bermuda’s post-World War II experience.

We are a small, isolated island community with a very limited gene-pool, unlike the United Kingdom or United States; two often quoted examples of all-volunteer military forces.

There are simply not enough Bermudians born to fill the requirements of all the uniformed organizations in Bermuda – mainly Police, Customs, Regiment and Fire Services.

To abolish conscription is not in the best interests of Bermuda, and will over time have a dramatic result – Bermuda will lose the Regiment.

Are the moves towards recruitment solely by volunteers the response to an action group advocating to abolish conscription? This group has made many outlandish statements over several years and has legally challenged the concept of conscription on numerous grounds to the highest court possible. All legal challenges have consistently been lost.

Conscription does not violate human rights and it does not enslave anyone. The anti-conscription group should be given no credence whatever. To give them any credence is a serious error in judgment.

A full-time volunteer unit will require substantial uplifts in pay scales to attract the number needed. It will cost substantially more to fund the Regiment as a result. Taxpayer costs will rise. This, too, is contrary to our best interests.

There are over 35 countries in the world that conscript young people to serve in their armed forces – including Austria, Holland, Brazil, Israel, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, and Argentina – it is not unique to Bermuda, and in the Bermudian context serves an essential purpose.

We will be asking those who have served with us in the Regiment over the years since 1965 as officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers to join with us in a campaign to preserve the Regiment as it is.

We will try to act as spokesmen for the Regiment over the next few months, to rebut some of the untruths and specious arguments that are being advanced, and to help the community understand how grievous the loss will be if the Regiment is thrown on the scrapheap to appease an anti-conscription lobby that has no legal credibility.

We mean no disrespect to those we will be opposing. Indeed, it will be difficult for soldiers who have been brought up in an atmosphere of respect and neutral service to engage in any kind of campaign at all. However, we feel circumstances warrant our current course of action – indeed, we would be remiss in our duty to the unit if we failed to speak up.

Lt Col Michael Darling,
Lt Col CE Raynor
Lt Col Gavin Shorto
Lt Col Allan Rance
Lt Col Patrick Outerbridge
Lt Col David Gibbons
Lt Col William White
Lt Col Brian Gonsalves

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Comments (81)

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  1. Terry says:

    These are all Ex Commanders of the Regiment.
    Of course they will say that.
    Reality is they are correct.
    I know many Captains and Majors that would agree because they are the ones that run it daily along with their subordinants.

    Just another thing by Dunkley to appease and get votes.

    Got Milk?

  2. Betty dump says:

    Funny how slave masters in the 1800s said the same thing about abolishing slavery…

  3. Grand Wizzard says:

    Shame on you all. Conscription is another form of slavery. It is forcing a human to do something against their will. This form included being degraded, shouted at, treated like an animal, putting up with racism, bullying, harassment, sexual harassment*, illegal forced poison gas-inhalation, being forced to associate with gang members or unruly characters of negative attitude, being forced to stand for long periods of time which is bad for your heart and health, and also being forced to run, walk, carry, lift, etc excessive amounts which are all bad for your health.
    It is a pathetic fact that Bermuda does this to its fellow humans, as in most countries, such treatment of animals is against the law.
    It is inhumane to force someone to shave their hair off, to make them wear a uniform they don’t want to, to conform to a social group they don’t want a part of, and it is inhumane to force someone to train how to murder people.
    All you people make me sick.
    Shame on you people. How dare you force this upon humans and have the bloody nerve to act like it should be expected for us to do it?
    Have human decency.

    Is our regiment of 50% gang-affiliated characters going to defend us in a war? A war that will never happen? A war that will see many other nations back us up, with no need of a pathetic regiment unit?

    Do you honestly believe these characters can fire a gun straight? Do you really trust them with a gun when you wouldn’t trust them with a machete?

    You are basically giving murder and terrorist training to gang-affiliates and wannabe-gangsters. Do you really expect these people to fight off gangs of people in a riot scenario? Will a MOB member fight off an MOB member? no. he would turn and use the gun the Government gave him to shoot non-MOBs.

    I could go on and on. It is just sad that the rulers of our nation have lacked humanity and common sense for decades. It is a rotten shame.

    In the eyes of Justice, Fairness, and God, we are pathetic for this abuse of human rights.

    Karma is real, so you will reap what you sowed.

    • Micro says:

      If getting paid to do what I do up there is slavery, then they should definitely bring back slavery, I’d be the first to sign up!

      Degraded – never have been

      shouted at – oh boohoo

      treated like an animal – lol

      putting up with racism – haven’t seen any

      bullying – be a bitch and you’ll be treated like one, do what you gotta do and nobody would bother you

      harassment – haven’t seen any

      sexual harassment – haven’t seen any

      illegal forced poison gas-inhalation – poison gas? wut? lol

      being forced to associate with gang members or unruly characters of negative attitude – known persons that engage in such activities generally are rejected from service

      being forced to stand for long periods of time which is bad for your heart and health – no different than being on a football field, in a marching band, majorettes etc

      being forced to run – lol, if I didn’t feel like running, I sure as hell didn’t

      walk – its a military force, one should be fit enough to walk a few miles a day

      carry/lift – no more than would be expected in the average a warehouse/delivery/IT and many other jobs; heaviest thing I’ve ever lifted by myself was probably a old tube style tv

      I bet you’ve never been, never finished your first year, or are a complete waste of space to society – i.e. a generally unruly character

    • Bermudian says:

      Grand Wizzard, you are a sorry person. Its diatribe like yours that sucks the patriotism and pride from our young people. i was never called up but i would have gone if asked, and been proud to do my father was a member of the BMA’s and so was my older brother. Most guys who complete the training are productive citizens in our communities.

      Your comments talk about giving mueder and terrorist training to gang affiliates and wannabe gangsters, sounds bias and prejudice to me, as if all young people wnt to belong to a gang.

      You should leave Bermuda and take your negativity somewhere else, we do not need it here.

      If i was in charge i would make it mandatory that all our young people had military training, girls and boys, like they do in Israel.

      Being prepared is better than reacting.

  4. Will says:

    It’s all fine and dandy for these gentlemen to voice their opinion on conscription. However, they do not have the right nor the power to, for want of a better word, force, me into any position or organisation that I do not want to commit myself to nor take any part in.

    Conscription is a dying breed. Bermuda must wake up and get with the times. Can someone please give me a good reason for constantly recruiting (male)members of the public to join a military style organisation that will never ever see military action? Surely we just don’t have them under the false pretense of national security (which is a sham). All the regiment has done is serve as a pomp and circumstance unit made to dress up prettily and walk in straight lines. BIGGEST WASTE OF MONEY EVER!

  5. Grand Wizzard says:

    Another thing is that our regiment is used as a means of cheap or free physical labour, another thing which is immoral, unethical, inhumane, and just plain shady.

    • Bermyman says:

      We could do the same thing with our 80k a year prisoners!?

      work detail anyone?

    • u ank sers says:

      hahaha musta been punked up der…soft

  6. Grand Wizzard says:

    The regiment also forces you to miss days off work, causing you to lose work pay, damage your job reputation and performance, and more. I know people who lost jobs and got kicked out of appartments or homes because they were forced to miss work and had no money to pay landlords or bills.

    HOW IS THAT FAIR?! It is evil corruption to the highest, and I swear that anyone dumb enough to NOT SEE THIS is so completely ignorant they don’t deserve to live in modern society.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      More utter nonsense from someone who seems to have a deeply rooted personal agenda.

      When I was in the Regiment it spanned two jobs ,one of which was considered borderline essential service.
      Both companies/bosses involved were not put off in the least that I had been drafted. In fact they were almost proud of it. One boss even likened working at the company to being in the army.

      Employers know what the law is about when it concerns being drafted and if anyone ever lost their job because of the army they can easily take legal recourse . And win .
      Not all , but most , companies also compensate their employees wages to make up the shortfall while they are at their regiment drills . For those that don’t , is the difference so great that they can’t afford their rent ? More nonsense .

      Look , if you hate the Regiment and don’t want to go then fine. I didn’t like it either , but at least stop making up cr@p to further your agenda.

  7. Sandgrownan says:

    With respect, the former CO’s are wrong. It’s a fundamentally flawed and immoral stance.

  8. Terry says:

    When Ali Akbah comes ……

  9. jt says:

    Pulic opinion favours getting rid of conscription, so it is going to be abolished.
    Rather than holding us back, it would be better for these 8 gentlemen to utilize their experience to help us form a new, modern regiment and service corps.

    • frank says:

      the regiment is a big waste of money shut it down
      lets see if the minister has the balls to do it

  10. Verbal Kint says:

    Anybody who signed that letter who was at the Regiment during the 14 year run of Glenn Brangman has (in my opinion) ceded any moral authority to make any kind of recommendations on the proper way to administer the Regiment. If you were silent when you should have spoken, now you can be silent when you feel the urge to speak. Sorry, but those people are not to be trusted.

    • Sandgrownan says:

      Absolutely correct.

      • CoinScript says:

        Yup I agree with you. I don’t understand how this even became worthy of being called news?

        So the last 8 people that beefited financially think it was a good idea? Why not ask the thousands of men that were forced to participate in the abuses?

        The vote would likely be 8 to 30,000

        Im not oppossed to the idea in principle of making our youth give back! However, why must it be thru the Regiment. You spend 3 years learning how to march in a straight line and learn to take abuse while doing push ups. Why can’t a youth dedicate their time to seniors homes, hospital;, st. Johns (I know a few can) Fire , Police etc…and wwhy are not they encouraged to do so.

        Not everyone needs to be “fixed by the regiment”.

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          You are singing my song. Nothing wrong with mandatory community service, paid, for a period of time. You pick from a selection at 18. If you don’t, a choice will be made for you, & it could be the Regiment.

    • Mike says:

      Well said.

    • Concerned Citizen says:


  11. Mark says:

    Whats the regiments deal regarding gay bermudiands/don’t ask don’t tell affairs…I was drafted a few years ago before university and never heard back. I am kind of curious to get in touch and do my part but unsure of the climate there. (I am gay)

    • Mark says:


    • Mike says:

      From experience the culture of the regiment is absolutely homophobic. From day one of recruit camp the corporal in company said he hates f******.

    • Chris says:

      I believe they added something to their policies prohibiting discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation a few years ago. The equality and diversity officer can answer more of your questions (call 238-1045 and ask for Maj Wyer).

  12. George says:

    I am not convinced of the Commanding Officers arguments – they are arguing to maintain the status-quo from a somewhat privileged position i.e. they have all benefited through improved social status/job opportunities etc from their roles in the regiment – not every conscript can/will benefit from these.

    If we are serious about breaking down race, class and other barriers or instilling discipline in our young men and women there are other ways of doing this. What about service as crew aboard Spirit of Bermuda, other volunteer position or within a local Coast Guard where you are going to be forced to get on with others, develop skill sets based on the biggest natural resource around us (the ocean) and learn something about our maritime history in the process?! It would build pride in who we are as an Island people and bring direct benefit to a greater proportion of the population I believe.

    Professional work crews can deal with the aftermath of a hurricane and the police could take on the role of riot control. You don’t need a conscripted regiment to be in a continuous state of readiness for an event that only happens every five + years or so.

    • LOL(original tm and all that) says:

      Stop making sense!

    • Toodle-oo says:

      George , this has been discussed before many times around the island but maybe you missed it .
      Suggesting that when the Regiment is done away with we substitute it for voluntary services in other worthwhile endeavors isn’t going to fly.
      Any realistic observer of the modern masses knows very well that they wont be volunteering for anything if they don’t have to .

      And seeing how stupidity has reigned supreme this week on Bernews feedback I fully expect to get a million ‘dislikes’.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        There are plenty who will go through life expecting the world to cater to them & give nothing back.

        These are the ones who would wind up in the Regiment if we had a system of mandatory public service, paid, in any one of a number of charitable organisations which serve Bermuda. If you don’t make a choice, one is made for you. The Regiment would be the least desirable so it would wind up with the dregs of society who need the structure of the Regiment in their lives.

  13. LOL(original tm and all that) says:

    “The letter said “conscription does not violate human rights”

    Really? Discrimination on the basis of race,gender, religion, etc etc is a violation of Human Rights under the HRC act 1981 and I would imagine every Human Rights act in every country in the free civilized world. By Bermudian law, EVERY Bermudian male at the age of 18 is mandated to serve, on the basis on being born male. Make an argument that this is NOT discrimination on gender grounds…… I can wait.

    The Regiment serves a purpose. That purpose, however, should be redefined and modernized for the 21st century. Just as we are having to look at our overall costs of running Government, the Regiment should similarly be looking at streamlining.

    Pump and Pageantry parades for the tourists to oooohh and ahhhhh over? Don’t need it.

    Hurricane relief? A non-conscripted, non-profit volunteer group can do it, hell Bermudians generally come together when we’ve had a good blow anyways. Last hurricane I drove out in my car and removed large branches in the road, I’m sure just as with other volunteer organizations enough people would give their time to such an initiative.

    Riot control? Determine how many we need for that role, recruit as the police do with salary and benefits as well as being screened for physical and mental suitability. You mean to tell me that ANY and EVERY 18 year old that’s forced up at the regiment should be taught how to shoot, regardless of whether they have the aptitude to not use those ‘skills’ outside the Regiment? I did my time up the Regiment, and I can tell you that some people should NOT be anywhere near guns!

    Discipline? Yeah, because having some 19 year old Corporal telling me to f*** off before he sticks his d*** up my a** is the definition of discipline, yeah? ( Yes, this happened to me when I was there, in the name of serving my country. Heh). If you’re relying on the state to discipline your grown 18 year old because it wasn’t done in the home, we have bigger issues at hand.

  14. Hmmmmm says:

    Lt Col Michael Darling,
    Lt Col CE Raynor
    Lt Col Gavin Shorto
    Lt Col Allan Rance
    Lt Col Patrick Outerbridge
    Lt Col David Gibbons
    Lt Col William White
    Lt Col Brian Gonsalves

    In my best Sesame Street voice: “one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong…….”. But what else is new….

    • Free-DUM says:

      Could it be Lt Col CE Raynor?

    • Mike says:

      CE Raynor

    • Come Correct says:

      As much as I hate to say it, for many reasons, I get your point. I’m for the abolition too but I find it funny how the letter says all these things they would have to do to attract volunteers yet they have never tried. People don’t want to go because they have to. Yes they need to fix certain things within the structure of the regiment but they don’t cost money and are far too long to list.

  15. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    Conscription is NOT used in other much larger countries because they found out it dosn’t work!

  16. Jim Bean says:

    Its the PLP’s fault.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      No, its the UBPs fault. Conscription & the Regiment in its current form & size should have been abolished a long time ago. It has always been a waste of money. How much is tied up in weaponry which will never be used for anything more than target practice?

  17. Mike says:

    Where are Col. Burch and Col. Lambe’s signatures?

  18. Want to Know says:

    I see a lot of hot air, but no solutions. I still want to know about these professional clean up crews and extra Police that people seem to think exist.

    Remember after Fabian? Bermuda was up and running in less than a week. Schools were open, the docks were open, the airport was open, peoples roofs were patched (and the list goes on). Why, because the Regiment was out every day helping to make it happen. The UK offered us tents and blankets, which we politely refused. It is amazing how short peoples’ memories are.

    Also, anyone who does not want to go into the Regiment can opt to do service with the Police reserves or St. John’s Ambulance. And I don’t agree that the majority of Bermuda is against conscription.

    • YADON says:

      No, the island was up and running after Fabian because of BELCO. They drove a forklift and cleared the roads from town to dockyard before the regiment even had breakfast. The regiment did help don’t get me wrong but the majority of the work was performed by BELCO or under instruction from BELCO. More private citizens helped than the regiment. In times of need Bermudians squash our differences and come together to help everyone we do not need uneducated, rude , vile little men threating us to do what is right.

      • Nuffin but da Truth says:

        The Regiment did very little in cleaning up after fabian…sure they cleaned up a few roads but the rest of the work was done by many others!

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          Got that one right. There were the looky looks who sat in their cars waiting for somebody else to do the work but there were plenty others who got out with their chain saws & cleared the roads. The Regiment was nowhere to be seen till after the basic clearing had been done.

    • Andrew says:

      Professional clean up crew = make it known before landfall that the first 500 people who show up after the hurricane will be paid $250 cash an hour to help W&E with the clean up. Assume 8 hour days for 5 days (would need less people after 2-3 few days but lets be conservative). Thats $5m dollars. Assume a major HU every 5 years (way less in reality) and we know that Regiment costs $7.1m a year (RG, Oct 22 2012). Just saved Bermuda an average of $6.1m a year.

      Then take $4m a year and hire another 20 police officers – no small amount of additional officers and again probably overestimated the cost.

      Bermuda gets what it needs, and still saves $2m+ a year. Your problems are now solved. Believe me, people including myself would be lined up DURING the hurricane to get paid $250 and hour cash for moving some bushes around.

  19. Shelta says:

    Eight CO’s, that means they had decades between them to transform the Regiment into something that would make people actually want to join. During my three years there I found it to be the most disorganized anything I’d ever been a part of and not something I’d ever recommend others volunteer to be a part of.
    I have to look to the leadership for that, so I find it rich that CO’s now ask that conscription be maintained to cover their failure in leadership.

    • YADON says:

      Agree 100%, 99% of the time it was the biggest waste of time I could ever imagine. Just another hardship I was forced to endure whilst working and in school at the same time. The biggest joke is that everyone of my rich friends never had to go because their parents could afford to send them to uni and when they got back they never served because they got jobs in I.B. which wrote them letters asking for exemption. That really pissed me off because they worked in an office and would not die due to a moment of inattention unlike the many tradesmen who were forced to be there. It also pissed me off that they seemed to target people like me who actually had jobs as they could easily find and arrest us, unlike a lot of the wanksters who they where too scared to go after. Also there was a guy in our platoon who just made a joke of everything and would purposely disrupt everything to be a pain in the ass ( BIG UP JU JU) guess what? they told him don’t come back after the first year. How is that fair?

  20. Meeee says:

    “Conscription is NOT used in other much larger countries because they found out it dosn’t work!”….????

    Not true. Austria, Singapore, Switzerland are just three of over thirty countries that still use conscription.

    Singapore, in fact, put conscription “on the books” when Singapore transitioned from colony to Independence. In a referendum last year, Austria voted to keep conscription.

    Let’s stay with facts .. let’s not fly off into a debate based purely on emotion and many dollops of myth and misinformation.

  21. Kangoocar says:

    It actually saddens me when I think of what society has become??? Why is such a big problem for certain people to give back to their country??? Even though I am not democratic leaning, I have to fully agree with President Kennedy when he said” Ask not what my country can do for me, ask what I can do for my country ” There are way too many self centered people now a days !!! For Pete’s sake, it is 3 yrs of part time service to your country!!!

  22. We the people!! says:

    You have got to be kidding me with this comment, “conscription does not violate human rights and it does not enslave anyone.”

    There are no valid arguments in the support of conscription, it is a form of slavery. Period.

    Forcing someone to work for the country; forcing someone to do anything under threat of punishment, such as prison, if they do not comply – IS involuntary servitude.

    Even Ronald Regan, writing in Human Events back in 1979, made a clear case against conscription:

    “conscription rests on the assumption that your kids belong to the state… That assumption isn’t a new one. The Nazis thought it was a great idea.”

    Any government that uses or endorses military conscription is nothing more than an unlawful, criminal organization because slavery is illegal.

  23. Justice says:

    Can anyone tell me the purpose of regiment ? Like really the actual real purpose

  24. CubanRum says:

    KEEP the regiment, keep conscription. y’all will cry when you need then and they aint there. makes men out of those called up

    • sage says:

      So those who don’t serve can never be real men? What a crock, how many “real men” enabled and conspired to cover up the “… business” that was going on up there?

  25. watchfuleyes says:

    Well good for Singapore and Austria, do they have they abuse their conscripts as well, like we do here? seems like you didn’t mention that little detail.
    Who are these Col’s who want to keep conscription? who cares what they think anyway? didn’t they hear that it’s a done deal now according to both political parties? and both parties are to blame that it has continued this long because they have both had the opportunity to end it. Now with public opinion being so high against conscription it appears that the right thing may be done by the powers that be, we are yet to see, stay tuned.
    Most of us know that conscription is immoral, demoralizing, inhumane and outdated.
    @jt my sentiments exactly
    @Want to know- a Regiment cannot justify its existence, if it only does ceremonies and clean up details- if the regiment was not around we would all clean up Bermuda ourselves, but since the Regiment needs a hurricane to feel useful we let them clean up- would not want to ‘rain on their parade’.
    I hope this useless,and immoral tradition of conscription finds a watery grave.
    let the regiment be lost then if it has to maintain conscription then. It is just plain wrong.

  26. Common Sense says:

    Despite all the nonsense about slavery and breaching human rights, Bermuda needs a disciplined organization that can be called upon on those occasions when we have a major hurricane, or in the unlikely event of civil unrest or any other national disaster

    Anyone who wants to avoid conscription can volunteer to serve in a charitable organisation for 2 years. Is serving in St. John’s Ambulance Brigade or in a senior citizens home a form of slavery?!

    What is seriously lacking among our young people these days is self discipline and the lack of opportunity to be part of a team because of the breakdown of so many families. The Bermuda Regiment can provide just such an opportunity. Yes, the Brangman scandal was a disgrace and should have been dealt with years ago, but one thing for sure, the present Regiment will be at great pains to avoid another such scandal.

    The Bermuda Regiment has served Bermuda well for decades, and the majority of former soldiers I have ever spoken with have said they served with pride and they benefitted from doing so.

    It might be politically expedient to abolish conscription now but be warned – it will have serious consequences when we need the services that have always been provided in emergency situations by the Bermuda Regiment.

    And just in case the naysayers accuse me of glossing over the Regiment’s faults, I strongly believe that their training programmes sorely need to be updated to be relevant to our needs in the 21st century

    • sage says:

      Why is it that our young females are not compelled to serve their country alongside their male counterparts? There are countless people who love and praise the regiment and support conscription, they can surely fill the ranks and since they are so big on service to country do it for free.

  27. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    when St Georges and St David’s were cut off from the rest of Bermuda after fabian had passed,WHO cleaned up then?…it wasn’t the Regiment,
    ordinary people that live there did.

    Left Right outta that FACT.

  28. Regiment-What a Joke says:

    I don’t know what is scarier to know that people actually think like this or that people are so intellectually dishonest and lazy that they don’t event take the time to read the crap they spew from their fingers……THESE CO’s AND THE CRAP THEY WROTE IS SCARY!!!!

    “The first and most important is to support the Police in time of civil unrest or disobedience”.

    “Conscription does not violate human rights and it does not enslave anyone”.

    The comments and words just reek of a certain group trying to preserve power for a certain social class while exploiting the backs of others. 2013 vs. 1800??? Has slavery really ended or has is it rearing its ugly head in different forms (Regiment, Privatization, Outsourcing etc.) People need to realize there power and stop accepting things because it is written on a piece of paper and called a “law”. Right is right and wrong is wrong!

    • Kangoocar says:

      Let me guess, you are a plp/union supporter aren’t you??? You reek of racism and socialism!!!!

      • Regiment-What a Joke says:

        Actually I’m not….Voted OBA!

      • James says:

        Who cares what group he/she supports. The facts are the facts, no matter who delivers them.

  29. hmmmm says:

    I can’t believe there are so many people brainwashed by Larry Marshal and the anti conscription campaigns. Most of the people who vehemently object to conscription are 1) people who never served or 2) when they did serve they didn’t make the most of their time up there and couldn’t better themselves by the training, experiences, and networking. Respect, hard work, tact, and discipline are all qualities that the regiment can instill and are grossly missing in majority of young men on this island-I would know I’ve taught loads of them.

    The sad part is that from my experience in the regiment more people than not enjoy their time up there. Its just because of the culture this island has produced that the people who’s feelings were hurt or didn’t like it kick and scream like spoiled children and make the most noise. On the other hand those who enjoyed it don’t speak up because they are content…

    I’ve said this before on another thread on Bernews but if we get rid of the regiment the standard of the males on this island-black and white- which is already embarrassingly low will plummet to even lower levels…

    • sage says:

      You should have done a better job teaching them.

    • jt says:

      …and many of the people who did serve and wwant conscription continued hve the mindset of “well, I did it and I survived it so you should too”. It’s an antiquated system and it needs to be modernized – whay are some so afraid of change?

  30. watchfuleyes says:

    Brangman may not have been a disgrace, as long as they could hide his dirty deeds. He may have had company in doing his mischief. But while he is the scapegoat it appears others might have gotten away free and clear, we don’t know. And the fact that we don’t know, is bothersome to many of us. How did he get away with it for so long? Who else was involved? Why did they possibly cover up for him?( I know a silly question, eh)
    @Common sense- are you really seriously saying that the Regiment is the place to send males to get discipline? Why yes, lets send them to a place where they can get liquor, weed, and I would bet anything else they want, have to bribe them with something to entice them that the place is great. oh yes don’t forget those exciting trips to Jamaica, like a man can’t take himself to Jamaica. Yes, the Regiment is a great place to send our sons, nephews,and brother!
    If anyone has failed to discipline their own sons and they think the Regiment is going fix them or be their saving grace, poor them, they don’t have a clue. The Regiment is not a Half-Way House for wayward men. The men who are there are not misfits, nor are they criminals. Most of them just happen to be born black. So I resent any implication that these young men need some form of handling or reform from the Regiment. Its the Cols that need some discipline from what I hear. The Regiment is one unorganized mess. Don’t bother giving any warnings about the dire consequences of abolishing conscription because ending it, may be the only thing the OBA do right in their tender as the ruling party.
    I think that if more Bermudians supported the group BAD, conscription would be a distant memory by now, but it is not too late. I am encouraged by people speaking and arguing against it’s immorality. We do not need any more of our young men demoralized, humiliated, degraded, dehumanized, deflated, or embarrassed, and some even mentally, and or emotionally destroyed by this institution.

  31. Sisu says:

    “The vast majority of the officers, warrant officers and senior N.C.O.s, past and present, came from the ranks of the conscripted, and most would not otherwise have served. If conscription is abolished where will the Regiment find sufficient numbers with the potential to be its future leaders? Not from volunteers.” —- So the regiment are admittedly ineffective in the delivery of the benefits/enjoyment it has to offer. For if they were better these officers et. al would have volunteered in the first place. Their response to this? Conscription. An interesting take on such an internal deficiency but I guess par for the course with these lot.

    “A full-time volunteer unit will require substantial uplifts in pay scales to attract the number needed. It will cost substantially more to fund the Regiment as a result. Taxpayer costs will rise.” —- A poor attempt to scare people into believing conscription is somehow the right choice/lesser of two evils. What data is there to back this statement up? What studies have been undertaken that show this to in fact be the case? And why after decades of having a part-time force do we need a full-time regiment? We don’t. But let’s not let facts get in the way with this debate…

    “There are over 35 countries in the world that conscript young people to serve in their armed forces.” —- And there are approximately 160 countries who do not.

    There are also 15 countries without any armed forces at all – a majority of which are small island states not unlike ours. And a further six countries with no standing military who carry out much of what our regiment do through a normal, albeit slightly expanded, police force.

    This is an interesting first ‘battle’ for the Bermuda regiment to enter. And one they will ultimately lose. Support for conscription is probably at an all time low and many people are against having a military force at all. All of the duties currently undertaken by the regiment would be better handled through other establishments, at little to no cost at all: (i) internal security: through an expanded police force; (ii) disaster relief: through an unpaid volunteer cleanup group; and (iii) parades and marching: through volunteer marching and music bands. Many who support ending conscription are less vocal about it than BAD and Larry Marshall Sr. but let this not be confused with a lack of support for his message. Support for ending conscription is widespread and these eight men will soon see that their message of pro-conscription/pro-military is outdated and less popular than they think. The time for change is upon us. And the near future will show who is right in this debate…

  32. edwin says:

    Well said Hmmmm and Micro,also they are MAMA’S Boys when they don’t want to go to Warwick Camp they get their MAMA’S and GIRLFRIEND’S to call and say they are sick.Take the PAMPERS off your backsides and MAN UP.

  33. Chris Worboys says:

    Conscription should be ended and the regiment disbanded. There are more important things we need to spend our time, money and energy on. People already help each other out after hurricanes and many would gladly join a volunteer based taskforce. There are no valid arguments left for conscription. Lets see it happen OBA.

  34. fidel says:

    its sad how so many people today find excuses for our young men not to experience a “duty” for their country that will require them to -get up early,some physical exercise and be told what to do- something that so many parents fail to enforce on their sons,hence keeping them as boys that stay lazy ,lack respect and cant keep a job or dont want to work and thus contribute zero to society !!!!!

  35. J.J. says:

    I totally agree, either run the regiment with volunteers or disband the regiment!

  36. Infidelguy says:

    Dear Former Regiment CO’s,

    The fact that you can only muster 30 volunteers on an annual basis speaks volumes on how the general population feels about serving in the Bermuda Regiment. Since saving money seems to be one of your highest priorities, I seriously doubt that much effort goes into recruitment of suitable volunteers since you can simply take the easy way out (and of course save money) by compelling our young men to join by enforcing the military conscription law.

    The basis of your argument seems to be that the regiment is so vital because they “…support the Police in time of civil unrest or disobedience.”. And when was that last time that Bermuda had civil unrest? (obviously a rhetorical question) The answer is 1977, 36 years ago. Wow! there’s SO MUCH CIVIL UNREST HERE! Thank goodness we have the Bermuda Regiment! And do you really believe that you can force enough soldiers (out of a total of 400) to obey orders that require them to bring potentially deadly harm to their fellow citizens?

    While I wouldn’t go so far in saying that military conscription is slavery, it certainly compels individuals to perform duties ( let’s be honest, for the British Crown) that they may not necessarily be inclined to perform. This, by the way, goes against the Article 2 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Check it for yourselves!

    All of the arguments presented by you gentlemen are ancient, outdated relics from an era many of find oppressive, offensive and just plain obnoxious.

    If you really want to do something profound for the country, I suggest you put your collective heads together and come up with a solution that addresses your concerns while at the same time reflects modern-day democratic values that do not require the subjugation of the rights of individuals.

    Thank you.

  37. Verbal Kint says:

    Here is another way to look at this. In the absence of conscription, the new, volunteer Regiment may well be seen as a way out of the circle of poverty and lack of educational opportunity for the less privileged. This is the case in many places with volunteer military and has been a conduit for advancement of underprivileged minorities (for instance rural black Southerners in the U.S). A Regiment with a vision and a purpose to serve the community could be a positive for a great many young people. That possibility will not exist as long as there is a conscription policy.

  38. TSOL says:

    The Regiment exists for purely ceremomial occasions. They are not here to put down civil unrest or clear the brush out of your driveway after a hurricane. Surely there are some cops who volunteer to get paid a little extra to learn how to march when someone important comes here. Hell they could even get some snazzy uniforms to wear for the occasions.