Submission from Mr Robert Masters, Bermuda
Once again it is that time of the year when
new recruits are inducted into the Bermuda Regiment at the annual
Boot Camp. The media seems to have little else to cover at this
time of year and revel in every minute detail of the new recruits'
experiences, especially the abuse shown to the new recruits. I
am appalled every time I see a Bermuda Regiment recruit being
treated like a criminal in our courts.
My purpose for writing this letter is to ask
a simple question: What is the purpose of the Bermuda Regiment
in 2008? What is the purpose of learning to march and handle a
gun in peacetime?
The Regiment grew out of Bermuda's colonial
past and may have had some purpose during the World Wars but there
is no longer a need for an Army in Bermuda. What a shame it is
that we have to teach our young men how to use weapons of war.
We should be teaching them that peace and diplomacy are mightier
than the sword.
The Bermuda Regiment should not exist simply
for the sake of "offering discipline, life skills and structure"
to young men, as this is the responsibility of parents, schools
and society in general. Why should the Bermuda Regiment be held
responsible for teaching discipline and respect to our young men?
Few Western nations require their young to serve
in their Armies. If Bermuda wishes to continue to have a Bermuda
Regiment, they should make it a volunteer organisation. Those
who wish to serve could do so and the Regiment could attract candidates
by offering free education such as the Military Services in the
USA. Bermuda does not need a conscripted Army but maybe something
like the National Guard in the USA to be called upon in emergencies.
I am sure the morale of the troops would improve with an all-volunteer
The military can be a career for some but it
is not an environment that is healthy for others. I hope that
all politicians will think about the need for a permanent Army
and see the way in the future to change the Regiment from a mandatory
obligation for our young men to a volunteer organisation which
encourages members of both sexes to join.
25 January 2008