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It’s time to abolish the Regiment

October 20, 2013

Dear Sir,

If it is the intention of the OBA Government to end conscription why continue with the recruitment of young men this year. One would expect an immediate moratorium on the recruitment of young men if this Government really intend to abolish conscription in the near future.

This duplicitous behaviour is typical of politicians who often intentionally confuse perception with reality.

Is it necessary to have a supply of cheap labour before the legislation to end conscription is put in place? That can be the only logical reason to persist with recruitment after the public statement to end conscription. The beneficiaries of cheap labour have difficulty looking for a replacement because of the economic price and that is the conundrum facing this Government. If Jamaica and Barbados can have a full time volunteer regiment and pay them a living wage surely Bermuda which is five times richer can afford to do the same.

That conscription has survived for so long in Bermuda is a matter that always confounded me. I am of the opinion that most Bermudians have a romantic perception of the Bermuda Regiment and disregard the negative aspects of forced recruitment reminiscent of the “press gangs” in England.

In 1962 when I joined the British Army for a six year tour of duty conscription had long been abolished there. This was a country with bases all over the world and was expected to mobilise a regiment at short notice to defend them and they did so without the need for conscription. When I found it here in 1976 I considered it an aberration that could not survive much longer. That it is still here in 2013 is a testament to the uniqueness of this country.

I made a submission to Baroness Amos in or about the year 2000 and was told in so many word that the British Government could not intervene in the internal affairs of this country.

I never really believed that as the later events in the Turks and Caicos would show.

I knew at that time that a man of the regiment could not successfully challenge conscription in the Bermuda courts. I also realised that the Bermuda people were happy with the status quo in the regiment.

The PLP Government should have abolished conscription. Unfortunately that party came to power in 1998 with no clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish and were kicked out in 2012 none the wiser. In view of the political and economic climate in 1965 the genesis of conscription could never have been noble. The passage of time has made the 1965 thinking redundant but the politicians since then have not had the vision and moral imperative to end what I consider to be a crime against humanity.

I would invite Minister Dunkley to end the obfuscation and proceed with the legislation to end conscription this year. After all it took only a couple of weeks to emasculate the Corporations of Hamilton and St George's.

Darcy R Lord.

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Published October 21, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 20, 2013 at 7:21 pm)

It’s time to abolish the Regiment

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