Nine Colonels “Welcome” Defence Amendment

December 4, 2015

A group of former Commanding Officers of the Royal Bermuda Regiment said they “welcome” the Defence Amendment 2015 as “there is compelling good sense in getting rid of conscription by means of a change in policy, but not by dropping it from the Defence Act.”

According to the version available on the Parliament website, the Defence Amendment 2015 indicates that should there be a shortfall in voluntary enlistment, the Governor may “provide for conscription of the required number of members.”

The Explanatory Memorandum says, “Where voluntary enlistment leaves a shortfall in the required number of members of the regiment, the Governor after consulting the Minister and the Defence Board may revise the role and responsibilities of the regiment to take account of the shortfall in numbers or provide for conscription of the required number of members in accordance with the principal Act.”

Screenshot from the Defence Amendment 2015:

Fullscreen capture 03122015 154122

The former Commanding Officers include Lt Col Michael Darling, Lt Col CE Raynor, Lt Col Gavin Shorto, Lt Col Allan Rance, Lt Col Patrick Outerbridge, Lt Col William White, Lt Col Brian Gonsalves and Lt Col Brendan Hollis.

In a statement today, the Colonels said, “The Nine Colonels welcome this bill. There is compelling good sense in getting rid of conscription by means of a change in policy, but not by dropping it from the Defence Act.

“This allows the community maximum flexibility in dealing with the Royal Bermuda Regiment and its role to serve the community, as we have said many times. A change in the law might well have put the Bermuda of the future in danger of not being able to sustain the Regiment as a viable unit.

“The Premier deserves great credit for keeping an open mind as he dealt with this issue, being guided solely by what is best for the country.”

Calling it “deliberately misleading legislation,” Larry Marshall of Bermudians Against the Draft said “to basically re-word the relevant section 4 of the Defence Act 1965 in a way which continues to allow conscription under the exact same circumstances is indeed disingenuous.”

This comes as the Royal Bermuda Regiment announced that the 2016 Recruit Camp will be all volunteer for the first time ever, with the RBR saying that recruits due to be conscripted in January have been told they will not be needed “although they will remain liable for potential service in future years.”

The Defence Amendment Act 2015, as posted by the Parliament website, is below [PDF here]:

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Comments (10)

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  1. Onion says:

    Conscription was never the policy, they were always supposed to find volunteers but this lot was too incompetent or lazy to do it.

    Time to end conscription.

  2. Terry says:

    Good on the Colonels.
    Well Lt. Colonels.
    It can work regardless of Larry’s anti Regiment.

  3. sage says:

    See. Larry is right.

  4. Jr Smith says:

    they will never fully relinquish their grasp over us, no one ever gives up that type power that easily….

    • Bill says:

      Jr Smith,

      You never served in the Regiment to come up with a statement like this.

      As David Lopes states” There are flights that leave every day, get one one and go back home”

      We do not need you.

      • mixitup says:

        “we don’t need you”…. you want to serve your Queen, go right ahead, but don’t force anyone else to do it.

  5. E-TEC says:

    Perhaps the Commanding Officer designate might consider a RBR Reserve..comprising of former well-trained soldiers…This may
    be a way to supplement RBR numbers in the future…

  6. Stephen Thomson says:

    Conscription in this day and age is simply outdated and wrong.
    Offer a pay package and incentives that will attract the correct number of soldiers as virtually every other free country does.
    Its that simple.
    Asking the opinions of the nine colonels, in my view, is like asking a warden to comment on whether prisons and prisoners operate effectively.
    The colonels were paid to assist in conscripting young Bermudians. Their opinion is tainted and they should recuse themselves.

  7. Pete says:

    Conscription should have been discontinued way back in the late 1960s.
    Bermuda was undergoing a change Socially, economically ,and Educationally. There were serious warnings, issues, and incidents that pointed to this, and sadly all was ignored.
    When I constantly heard fellow senior soldiers, and persons using the term young men need discipline. The Military is not a social rehabilitation
    organization, it`s purpose is Defense, maintenance of Law and order.
    Sadly the useless practice continues, constant battling with people who have no interest in soldering, let alone very serious personal social issues, along with persons getting on with business, further education etc., the most embarrassing leadership issues that occurred to boot.
    How much more procrastinating will go on ? just put an end to the mess.

  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    I guess they would be happy. Effectively nothing has changed.