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VIP visit for regiment troops in Jamaica

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Private Koshun Simmons chats with Governor George Fergusson at Titchfield Camp, Port Antonio, Jamaica(Photograph supplied)

The Royal Bermuda Regiment played host to a flying visit from VIPs over the weekend.

Governor George Fergusson and Jeff Baron, Junior Minister for National Security, toured the sites in Jamaica used by the RBR for its annual training exercise.

Mr Fergusson and Senator Baron visited Twickenham ranges near Up Park Camp, the HQ of the Jamaican Defence Force, both in Kingston, and today were at Titchfield Camp near Port Antonio in Portland Parish, the base for jungle warfare training, and watched soldiers take part in river rafting.

Mr Fergusson said: “This kind of training is vital because one of the roles of the regiment is to provide back-up for UK Territories and independent countries in the Caribbean in the event of a disaster.

“It’s important the regiment has experience of heat and mosquitoes and, to some extent, putting together facilities themselves.”

Mr Fergusson added: “The support from the Jamaican Defence Force has been fantastic.

“Morale has been very high — people really seem to be enjoying it. The jungle is quite different and the soldiers have clearly enjoyed that.”

The Governor and Senator Baron, accompanied by Colonel Nick Lock, the assistant military attaché at the British Embassy in Washington and Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick Brown, the British defence advisor for the Caribbean, based in Jamaica, touched down in Portland Parish by helicopter from Kingston, courtesy of the JDF Air Wing.

Senator Baron said: “I’ve been tremendously impressed and especially by the Jamaican Defence Force and all the support they have given the Regiment.

“I’ve also been impressed with the professionalism and scope of the regiment’s operations. Every single male and female soldier I have had an opportunity to speak to has been great.”

Senator Baron said it was his third visit to RBR overseas training camps since he became a junior minister. He has previously visited troops in Canada and North Carolina.

He added: “I’ve had the opportunity to experience the three vastly different environmental challenges. We have gone from snow in Canada to the jungle heat and mud in Jamaica.”

And Senator Baron paid tribute to the action-packed training schedule, drawn up new Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley in his previous role as RBR Training Officer.

Senator Baron added: “It’s very forward-leaning and bold and I applaud him for that. He could have set up easy training but he has set something up that is tactically difficult, not just for the soldiers, but for the senior NCOs and officers.”

Touchdown: Governor George Fergusson and Senator Jeff Baron arrive near the RBR jungle training area near Titchfield Camp in Portland, Jamaica, in a JDF Air Wing helicopter(Photograph supplied)
Private Charles Thomas describes jungle survival training to Governor George Fergusson in Portland, Jamaica(Photograph supplied)
Senator Jeff Baron talks to Private Tallia Zuill and Private Kennisha Nisbett outside their tent at Titchfield Camp(Photograph supplied)
Governor George Fergusson and RBR second-in-command Major Warren Furbert tour the JDF’s camp(Photograph supplied)