A big sigh of relief today from the man behind Bermudians Against the Draft (BAD), who led the fight spanning more than a decade to end conscription in Bermuda’s Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR).
When contacted by Bermuda Real for his initial reaction, Larry Marshall Sr said: “On June 22, 2018, conscription finally came to an end after 53 long years.
“To God be the glory for the great things he has done!”
The case, which all the way to the privy council, still hangs a dark cloud of debt over Mr Marshall’s family.
Looking back, he said: “It has been a long struggle but worth it considering the magnitude of human rights abuses perpetuated by this system over the past five decades. Because of the 1965 Defence Act the regiment was able to legally trample upon the rights of young men.
“First on the list of abuses was of course forced labour the most egregious violation. That will no longer be allowed and as a consequence young men, especially young black men, who were disproportionately drafted by design, will now enjoy the same human rights as everyone else. And make no mistake this is a victory for human rights.
“That’s irrespective of the deafening silence from the Human Rights Commission, who have displayed an astonishing level of hypocrisy regarding this issue. This is a victory of right over wrong! Of good over evil!
RBR Soldiers leaving on Caribbean Hurricane Relief Mission on Friday
“Minister of National Security Wayne Caines summed it up in the House when he stated that because of the abolition of conscription, BAD had been vindicated.
“In other words, we were right, which has been our position over the past 13 years.”
And during the course of those 13 years, Mr Marshall chastised former Premier Michael Dunkley, for promising to end conscription under the former One Bermuda Alliance administration, then failed to take it off the books completely.
Mr Dunkley, released the following summary of his comments during the House debate on the Defence Amendment Act 2018 to Bermuda Real on Friday: