Cup Match 2020 will go down in history as the year there was no Cup Match in Bermuda. But that did not mean it was not Cup Match time out on the water, which made for a busy holiday weekend for soldiers in the Coast Guard unit.
Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR) soldiers joined police on patrol around the island, including the popular raft-up at Mangrove Bay that used to be the home of the former Non-Mariners’ Race.
RBR soldier Private Keeshun Best, 27, said: “It’s been great – hot, but no major trouble to speak of.”
He also noted that the holiday weekend mariners appreciated the patrols and the sense of security they provided.
Pte Best, from Smith’s, added: “People seem happy to see us. It’s a balancing act because we enforce the law, but don’t want to ruin people’s day.
“Most people have been very cooperative. We’ve got a lot of offers of water and things like that. I’m enjoying it. I enjoy talking to people.”
Pte Steffan Adderley, 29, from Hamilton Parish, said: “You can’t ask for a better job. It’s nice to be able to give back to the community and take care of people.
“For the most part, people have behaved themselves. People want to have a good time and we want to ensure it’s a safe good time.”
Both soldiers, four year veterans of the RBR, were speaking as they patrolled Mangrove Bay and other popular bays and beaches in the West End.
The two were embodied at the start of the Covid-19 emergency in March and have spent most of their time on deployment since.
Other soldiers carried out patrols of beaches such as Horseshoe Bay and Clearwater as back-up to the Bermuda Police Service.
Pte Adderley said: “The only ones who don’t seem to like us are people that are doing something wrong – but there haven’t been many of them.”
The patrols enforced strict “no jetskis” rules for Mangrove Bay and other areas, enforced speed limits at sea and checked boats were operated with the correct equipment.
The new Minister of National Security Renée Ming earlier paid her first visit to the Coast Guard headquarters in the West End on Saturday, along with Governor John Rankin, RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Ben Beasley, Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley and Coast Guard commander Inspector Dave Greenidge.
Minister Ming heard Sergeant Major Jeffrey Patterson, the senior RBR soldier in the Coast Guard, report that more than 3,000 boats had been checked on Thursday and Friday, the first two days of the holiday.
“I was very impressed. I didn’t know what to expect and I was glad for the detailed summary given to us. Where I can be of assistance, I will try to be,” said Minister Ming.
Sgt Maj Patterson said afterwards: “We were delighted to welcome the new minister for the first time, and the Acting Permanent Secretary.
“The minister showed a keen interest and appreciation of our work, for which we’re very grateful.”
Inspector Greenidge added: “I am proud of the unity and professionalism of the Bermuda Police Service and RBR soldiers who have made sacrifices to ensure the safety of the boating community.
“The Coast Guard is a testament to a partnership which is built on trust and teamwork and they continue to lift each other up, which ultimately guarantees the success of the unit.”
Mr Rankin said: “It’s a different Cup Match from usual, but there are a lot of people out on the water and the Coast Guard has been out over the holiday period to make sure people are safe, boats are safe and it’s safe to swim in the water.
“Once again, I’m impressed by the professionalism of the Coast Guard teams – the police and the Regiment working together.”
Lt Col Beasley added: “It is expected that the first nine full-time Coast Guard personnel will be hired soon and we will draw on the expertise of the Regiment, the police and other areas of the marine sector.
“We are also recruiting for the Regiment generally and especially people who want to join the Coast Guard Reserve.”
- Top Feature Photo: Private Keeshun Best and Private Steffan Addderley at Mangrove Bay, Sandys