The “sword of command” was officially exchanged this week at a formal Change of Command ceremony held at Warwick Camp.

Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Simons officially took over from Lieutenant Colonel Ben Beasley, as head of the Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR).

Governor Rena Lalgie, the regiment’s Commander-in-Chief, noted that Colonel Beasley’s command started “under unprecedented circumstances and at a challenging time” for the regiment.

“During your tenure, you oversaw operations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic — the longest period of embodiment for the RBR since World War II,” she said.

“You also led the organisation through the implementation of a full-time Royal Bermuda Regiment Coast Guard, with the transition of responsibility for maritime security from the Bermuda Police Service to the RBR. And the Officers’ Mess now has two commissioned females for the first time in three decades.

“In addition, you have worked to enhance the RBR’s relationship with other British Overseas Territories units.”

To the new Commanding Officer, she said: “I am confident that you will uphold this ethos and ensure these values are employed and fostered throughout all ranks.”

Colonel Simons said the main challenge for the RBR was attracting “the people with the skills and aptitude we need to sustain our capability”.

“The first thing is to engage deeply across our community, particularly with young people, in order to foster a culture of public service and a feeling of collective responsibility for our community,” he said.

The second point of focus was to offer soldiers and the community at large, the best product possible “with the resources allocated”.

“We must accelerate the shift to becoming a learning organisation, where we teach, exercise and apply lessons learnt. This is what a modern military culture looks like,” said Col Simons.

“It is critical that the training hours budgeted for, particularly in the case of our part-time staff, increase in order to allow us to modernise and progress year on year.

“Only by moving forward will we attract new soldiers and sustain the interest of those serving.

“Since I walked through these gates on January 9, 1999, the Royal Bermuda Regiment has been part of who I am,” he added.

“It has been a place to reset after a day at school or at work, a place to find success and build friendships in parallel to life outside this camp.

“For me and for everyone here, it is a place of belonging.”

Col Beasley, the outgoing CO after four years, said: “It is essential to emphasise that the successes we celebrate today are far from mine. I often say that aside from perhaps some tedious operational planning, I am not the best at anything within the regiment.

“I am not the best public order instructor or chef, mechanic, musician … I highlight these because the true excellence is within the men and women before you. Their skills, dedication and commitment bring our policies and doctrines to life.

“One of the lessons I have learnt is that leadership is not about just strategic positions, it’s profoundly about inspiring and motivating people to excel in their roles, often at times when they cannot see their own impressive potential,” he added.

• For more information or to join the RBR, visit www.bermudaregiment.bm or call 238-1045.