Senate: Defence Act wins support
Legislation amending the Royal Bermuda Regiment has been passed in the Senate.
Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Foster-Brown, the Royal Bermuda Regiment's commanding officer, observed the debate.
While the Defence Act was supported by independent senators, Diallo Rabain, the Opposition Leader in the Senate, pointed out the change in the One Bermuda Alliance's narrative from repeated pledges to eliminate conscription, to an Act that pointedly retains it as an option. However, Jeff Baron, the Junior Minister of National Security, told the Upper House: “The key word is ‘transition'.”
Maintaining that the Government remained determined to end conscription, Sen Baron said: “This is not just trying to tick a box for an election promise. We could have done that on day one, but we recognise that is not responsible.”
Sen Baron said it would not present any pathways to citizenship for foreign nationals who joined up.
The legislation opens up volunteering to non-Commonwealth citizens, and holders of Permanent Residents' Certificates can also sign up.
The amendments are based on the recommendations of the National Security Defence Review.