It has run its course

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  • The Bermuda Regiment - conscription must go, says Larry Marshall.

    The Bermuda Regiment - conscription must go, says Larry Marshall.


January 7, 2013

Dear Sir,

People are forever praising the role that the Bermuda Regiment has played in Bermuda over the years and surprisingly I don’t disagree. Many have gone into the gates of Warwick Camp and become somewhat better citizens because of what they have learned during their experience. Some have even found rewarding careers. So to be honest the Bermuda Regiment does offer some good. With that said, one must take the good with the bad and weigh the pros and cons of such organisations. I stated above that many have gone into the Bermuda Regiment and come out better men; the same can be said for prison. In fact, a few have gone into prison and come out lawyers and better educated (formally). Does this mean we encourage all young men to go to prison?

I also mentioned above that many have learned plenty during their experience in the Bermuda Regiment. However, what about those who have been abused (physically, mentally/emotionally)? Yes, it is possible for a man to be abused and assaulted. Over the years via the courts plenty has been admitted by Bermuda Regiment personnel to prove that case. While the Bermuda Regiment may offer some good too many we must not forget the basic human rights and discrimination issues. I’ve read plenty on slavery. To deny that conscription which is forced labour which is a form of slavery is in fact slavery is as dishonest as one can possibly be. When the debate about ending slavery in the United States was going on many feared the economic collapse of having to pay slaves decent wages and so on. Sound familiar? We also ignore the blatant fact that conscription for men only is discrimination and when we do so we are opening ourselves up for many other unfair laws.

In closing, conscripts are not unionised and can’t march for better pay or treatment. They basically have no rights yet people believe that at the age of 18 we should be forced into such an organisation because it is the saviour for us and has proven to be the best thing to come along to curb our social problems. Conscription has run its course. It is time to bring equality to Bermuda in all forms. There is no better time than now to prove that we have grown as a people to understand that any form of discrimination is wrong and that each citizen, unless they are a threat to society, deserves the very same rights as another. It is right thing to do; it is the humane thing to do.

JAMEL HARDTMAN

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Published Jan 8, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 8, 2013 at 8:46 am)

It has run its course

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