Regiment to have all-volunteer Recruit Camp
Next year's Recruit Camp will be made up solely of volunteers for the first time ever, according to the Royal Bermuda Regiment.
Commanding Officer Lt Col Michael Foster-Brown said that recruits conscripted to take part in the January camp have been sent letters stating they will not be needed — although they will remain liable for potential service in future years.
“I'm delighted — many people thought this wouldn't be achievable, so it's excellent news,” he said.
“It's the result of a lot of hard work and emphasis on ensuring that service in the RBR is attractive and rewarding.”
Lt Col Foster-Brown explained that this year's deferments came as a result of both a high number of volunteers — between 50 and 60 — and an increase in soldiers agreeing to extend their service.
“The great thing about the retention rates is that these are people who know exactly what the RBR is like because they are in it,” he said. “It's a huge vote of confidence in the Regiment and what we do.
“The timing is fortunate with the proposed amendments to the Defence Act which will address the issue of compulsory service; also of course we have just celebrated our 50th Anniversary so it's a special year.”
He added that while maintaining the recruitment momentum in the coming years is a challenge, discussions are under way with government for support. “For those who were balloted this year or in previous years, and have not started their service, their liability for service remains,” Lt Col Foster-Brown said. “They may well be called in subsequent years, but they will not be required next year.”
He added that anyone who was conscripted who now wishes to volunteer may still do so and begin their training in January.