National Security Minister Wayne Caines informed MPs today that the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s annual overseas training camp has been cancelled this year.
In a cost-cutting move designed to generate savings to create a full-time, inshore Coast Guard and to enhance disaster relief services, he said the cancellation “will realise a savings of between $300,000 and $450,000 through the elimination of an aircraft charter and camp operational cost”.
“The decision to cancel the camp has been made as a result of identifying better value for money and the need to invest in activities that are operationally focused – putting the Royal Bermuda Regiment back on the map,” he said.
The regiment would use the savings to develop a “professional, credible, full-time, inshore Coast Guard”.
“In order to meet the operational needs of the Coast Guard, the regiment has committed to finding reductions in its 2018-19 budget so that funds could be redirected [to] its development,” said Mr Caines.
“Additionally, the regiment seeks to enhance its humanitarian and disaster relief and military aid to civil authorities capability.”
Two training sessions to be held on island will be held as an alternative to the annual two-week training camp abroad.
“The first part will take place in May 2018, with the RBR remaining in Bermuda to conduct a regimental six-day exercise that focuses on confirming fundamental skills and fully preparing for the 2018 hurricane season,” said Mr Cainies.
“The second part will take place in October 2018, and will be a five-day inter-agency joint venture exercise in Bermuda, which will focus on improving interoperability with the other uniformed services.”
He noted that the regiment remains committed to its mission “to support the civil authority with the security of Bermuda, its people, property, livelihood and interests in order to maintain normality”.
He also said the “elimination of conscription has presented the regiment with a golden opportunity to change how they recruit, retain and invest in our people to better achieve its missions and roles”.
He concluded: “I am confident that the cancellation of the 2018 Overseas training camp will allow the regiment to realign its focus and emerge better equipped to provide valuable security and disaster relief services to Bermuda.”