Beasley vows to review lack of female officers
A review on why no women serve in some of the leading ranks in the Royal Bermuda Regiment will be undertaken, its new Commanding Officer pledged yesterday.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ben Beasley pledged that the regiment would conduct an analysis to find the reasons behind the absence of females in the roles of warrant officer or commissioned officer.
Colonel Beasley added: “From there, we will implement a strategy that addresses those institutional faults.
“To say that I know the problems and the solutions would be premature.
“As the unit only conscripted males for 50-plus years, one would rightly expect that we face a legacy of institutional imbalance. However, we are looking forward.”
Colonel Beasley said diversity was key to making a team more effective.
He said: “Having a group that all think and act alike means that you will only ever get one solution.
“It is essential that traditional behaviours are challenged and, if they don't stand up to scrutiny, they are changed.”
Colonel Beasley said Bermuda was made up of a diverse group of people “not just young Bermudians fresh from school”.
He added: “This needs to be embraced. Not only do we need to harness the skills and experience they can bring to bear, but encourage their participation in an organisation that serves the nation's interests.”
Colonel Beasley was sworn in at a small ceremony by John Rankin, the Governor, at Government House on Monday.
At 39, he is the youngest officer to hold the post after he took over in an acting capacity last October.
He told those in attendance that the Covid-19 crisis had meant Bermuda was not experiencing “normal days”.
Colonel Beasley said: “The regiment's role in these circumstances highlights why someone would want to be associated with our organisation — the camaraderie, selfless commitment and contribution to our home is what drives many of our men and women to continue service.”
He added that while tradition played an important part in the RBR, its sights were set on the future and included a drive to reflect the community.
Colonel Beasley said: “We must ensure that we prioritise the needs of our soldiers and understand the shifts in social dynamics.
“We are a meritocracy that is championed by all ranks and supported by a robust diversity and inclusion policy.”
However, he added: “With no serving female warrant officers or commissioned officers, I have made it explicit that this and other imbalances must change if we are to continue as a true reflection of Bermuda at its best.”
Mr Rankin said Colonel Beasley had “more than earned his spurs” and commended the role played by the RBR in keeping islanders safe amid the pandemic.
Mr Rankin said: “The regiment can rightly be proud of what it has achieved but, of course, it cannot rest on its laurels as we live in a time of change.
“The regiment is now an all-volunteer organisation and continues to develop new roles, not least with the establishment of the Bermuda Coastguard, who have been deployed very effectively on our waters in recent days.”
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said that Colonel Beasley had been “unflappable” as the island mobilised to fight the spread of Covid-19.
Mr Caines, a former RBR officer, added that soldiers under Colonel Beasley's command had praised him for his pleasant manner, hard work and fairness.
He said: “I thought these were the most excellent attributes for the leader of our battalion.
“I look forward to seeing the regiment going from strong to stronger under the leadership of Lieutenant-Colonel Beasley.”
Colonel Beasley, a former regular officer in the Royal Air Force, graduated from the service's college at RAF Cranwell in 2006 and worked in training and education focused on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and in British air-policing operations.
He also helped establish the stand-up of RAF flying and ground-based squadrons for operations during conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq before he returned home. He earlier served as a reserve police officer and has worked to promote the welfare of young people with the Outward Bound Bermuda programme and Beyond Bermuda Rugby.
Colonel Beasley was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2018 for his services to the community.