Submission by Sergio Lottimore, Bermuda
ABOLISHING THE BERMUDA DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE'S
The Bermuda Regiment prides itself on strong
morals, values and civic duty. Yet the institution's selection
process explicitly contradicts these very same values by humiliating,
criminalizing and persecuting Bermuda's young males that choose
not to participate in this organization. As a recent selectee,
I find myself faced with the possibility of imprisonment and/or
fines for violating an unfair and unjust edict. By violating my
human rights through forced labour, sexism and ageism; I recommend
that the Bermuda Regiment should modify its selection process
in a manner that espouses the organization's stated ideals.
I am a 22-year-old recent university graduate
from McGill University. I graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce
degree with concentrations in International Business and Strategic
Management. I have subsequently returned home and have gained
full employment at an international reinsurance company. In the
fall, I will undertake courses to pursue a professional designation
at the Bermuda Insurance Institute. I understand that each and
every one of us has a civic responsibility to give back to their
country. As a former Bermuda Government scholar, I fully understand
the benefits of investing in the community and I have already
committed to positively contributing to my island community. I
have only been back in Bermuda for two months; therefore, I have
only had limited contributions to my community thus far.
One of my more notable roles has been working
with my employer to establish a scholarship for Bermudian students
seeking to study abroad. I also plan on becoming involved in the
Bermuda Government Mirrors Programme, the Centre on Philanthropy
and I will also participate in a local community sports club.
These undertakings will come in due time and I am really looking
forward to working in these organizations. The key concept to
recognize is that it was my choice to join these organizations.
I was neither forced nor threatened with disciplinary measures.
Out of my own volition, I have chosen to commit my time
to the associations that I feel I can contribute the most to.
This path is mutually beneficial for myself, as well as my community.
I can understand that some of my peers may not want to do anything
at allthat is fine with me. I am not here to judge them
and I respect their right to choose where they want to spend their
timethis is a fundamental notion of any democracy. The
Bermuda Regiment does not mesh well with these ideals; however,
the institutions gross violation of human rights is perhaps the
most grotesque aspect of its existence. The concept of conscription
has received global condemnation from leaders for decades due
to its "degradation of human personality and the destruction
Ageism, sexism and Universal Declaration of
Human Rights violations pervade the Bermuda Regiment selection
process. If the Department of Defense believed so strongly in
the learning environment at Warwick Camp, why is it that they
do not extend these "privileges" to all of society including
women and older, able-bodied people? If they deem these activities
fit for young males, then surely it would be good for all members
of society. The conscription policy also clearly violates numerous
articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I do believe that there is a role for a similar institution in
Bermuda; however, the Bermuda Regiment currently does not satisfy
the necessary functions that I think it should provide.
One such function should be performing marine
patrols to secure Bermuda's shores. Bermuda has a significant
illicit drug problemwith 12 nautical miles of oceanic territory,
there is no dedicated authority to monitor Bermuda's marine traffic.
The Bermuda Regiment could potentially provide these forces in
addition to more civil crisis response services. Apart from clearing
roads after hurricanes, the Bermuda Regiment could provide disaster
relief services similar to that of the Red Cross or the United
States' Federal Emergency Management Agency. Implementing more
of these necessary measures and eliminating many of the redundant
military components will strengthen the Bermuda Regiment and make
it a more attractive organization to civilians, particularly younger
people. The current conscription scheme is what stands in the
way of upgrading the Bermuda Regiment into a 21st century organization.
The fact that the institution is automatically
endowed with new recruits every year means that regimental authoritative
figures do not have to do anything to attract a high quality,
dedicated labour force. Ending mandatory military service will
force the Bermuda Regiment to modify its current offering in order
to entice more recruits. These modifications include, but are
not limited to, implementing the recommendations above in addition
to providing enhanced compensation and benefits. With more committed
and qualified recruits, the Bermuda Regiment could become a leaner
organization that fulfills all of its duties with minimal labour
requirements. This would make it easier for the organization to
meet its annual human resource quota. The only way this will happen
is if conscription ends.
The abolishment of conscription in Bermuda will
lead to improved, more suitable services being performed by the
Bermuda Regiment. As a democracy, Bermudians cannot accept a system
that places an inequitable burden of Bermuda's shared civic responsibilities
on the shoulders of the country's young males. We as a country
must come together to develop an institution that will reflect
the morals and values of our communityuntil that day comes,
we will continue to produce young adult males who are discontent
with a superfluous military organization.
29 July 2007
1 See Manifesto Against Conscription and the Military
See Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Back