The Bermuda Regiment
One of the young guys in my team, a Bermudian, recently asked me to write him a letter so he could avoid a night's "Regiment Training." He had a good excuse - he was out on the lash with me.
I was intrigued about the Bermuda Regiment
, so I did some research, particularly after reading today's newspaper
and seeing that some of the battalion have been sent to Turks and Caicos following the severe damage caused by Hurricane Ike
There are only 27 full time members of Bermuda's army, led by Commander William White, but a further 600 or so males aged between 18 and 30 are conscripted by a compulsory ballot to join the Regiment for a minimum period of 3 years. Women somewhat strangely in this century, are not allowed to join. Training takes place regularly throughout the year, chiefly at the Regiment's headquarters located at Warwick Camp, which is along the south shore of the island, but also occassionally overseas in Jamaica, North Carolina and in Quebec.
Being a British overseas territory, Bermuda's defence is the responsibility of United Kingdom, and the Regiment comes under the control of Governor Richard Gozney
. The role mainly of the regiment appears to be helping with the police with internal security (they took over responsibility for security at the airport immediately after 9/11 when US airspace was shut down), ceremonial duties, community events and disaster relief post any hurricanes.
However the Bermuda Regiment has come in for a lot of criticism recently, by both Bermudians, ex-pats willing to speak out, the British Government and the MOD. A study found that equipment and practices were outdated and often unusable and it took a recent Bermudian Supreme Court decision to uphold that conscription is a lawful process.
Most of the guys I speak tend too grumble about their experiences, although I would suspect it does bring together racial and class differences, an often uneasy bedfellow on this idyllic isle, but then again helping move trees or fix roofs is hardly being conscripted to the Israeli Army is it?