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Cadet Corp to be replaced as budget savings are made

The Bermuda Cadet Corps is to be disbanded due to rising operating costs, National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief told the House of Assembly.

The programme will be replaced after its annual camp in September, with the more cost-effective Bermuda Regiment Junior Leaders.

The Junior Leaders programme was disbanded in the 1980s after the Bermuda Regiment decided it couldn’t support it and the Cadet Corps.

Mr Perinchief said: “It was recently determined the Junior Leaders programme would be more cost-effective and its objectives are identical to that of the Bermuda Cadet Corps programme.”

It was also unveiled in the debate on the Ministry of National Security that $7.1 million was set aside for the Regiment an increase of $270,505 due to a pay increase awarded last year.

The Regiment will likely maintain its reduced intake of 80 recruits, keeping a total force of 360 soldiers in the year ahead.

The National Security Ministry is also responsible for Border Control and Customs.

The budget for Border Control in 2012/13 is $17.6 million, compared with $14.7 million allocated in the previous year a 20 percent increase over 2011/12. Border Control has an estimated revenue of $12.4 million for the new fiscal year.

There were 175 applications for Bermudian status last year, down from 239 recorded in 2010. Of those applications, 104 were submitted by spouses of Bermudians. Another 153 applications were filed for naturalisation, compared to 239 in 2010.

The Minister said most of these were attributed requests for Bermudian status, with another 31 applications for permanent residents’ certificates from long term-residents and dependants.

A total of 1,158 people applied to have their names added to the register of Bermudians last year; 1,760 applied the year before. Forty-one people were added to the stop list, compared to 57 in 2010 and there were 15 deportations, up from the 13 recorded in 2010.

“This increase is attributable to an increase of foreign prisoners who were eligible for release in 2011 and also to an increase in foreigners whose character and conduct deemed it necessary for them to be deported,” Mr Perinchief stated.

Overall, administrative costs to run the Ministry is down $1.15 million has been allocated for the coming year, a 20 percent reduction, or $295,000 less than the allocation for 2011/12.

Government has allocated $500,000 to expand wireless CCTV surveillance Island-wide. Another $750,000 will be used to upgrade the computer records management system for the Bermuda Police Service, with another $700,000 set aside for new computer software for crime recording and analysis, general police records, intelligence recording systems and custody information systems.

Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier said: “For each of the past four years this Government has cut back the police budget, sometimes drastically. It did so in the midst of what everyone in this Chamber would agree has become a historic crime crisis, at a time when the people of Bermuda would have expected the Government to provide the service with all the resources needed to get the job done.

“I’m looking at budget lines for the Drugs and Intelligence Division and see an overall budget reduction of nearly $12 million. Such a significant cutback strikes us as heading in the wrong direction.”

Mr Cannonier referred to the UK Inspectorate’s recent report which found that the IT systems “lack functionality and do not operate efficiently”.

“Our law enforcement is still using the AS 400 system they are still looking at a green screen.

“We have not armed our police service with the technology they need to be effective. They are using typewriters when our criminals are using iPads!”

A total of $68.6 million was allocated for the police budget. Despite the 4.5 percent drop in all crime last year, Mr Cannonier said: “2011 compared to 2010, which many would consider next to 2009 to be to the worse year for crime in our history, and people generally still do not feel safe in Bermuda.

“Residential burglaries were up, burglaries at tourist accommodations were up, robbery was up, serious assaults were up and if you compare the fourth quarter of 2010 to the same quarter last year, you would see that murder was also up.

“Crime is about more than a set of statistics. We make sure to lock our doors, we worry about our children on the town, we wonder what may happen at football games, we know parts of the Island are no-go zones for many.

“We know there are still plenty of guns out there, despite the recent police seizures. And we know there are still plenty of young men who seem willing to use them almost indiscriminately. We cannot accept this situation as the new norm.”

Bermuda Cadet Corp is to be disbanded this year, National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief announced during a budget debate.

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Published March 21, 2012 at 10:03 am (Updated March 21, 2012 at 10:03 am)

Cadet Corp to be replaced as budget savings are made

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