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Bermuda Regiment to end Jamaican training camps

Monday, March 18, 2013 | 11:07 AM    

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HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) - The Bermuda Regiment is expected to end training camps in Jamaica because of tighter financial constraints, a senior official has said.

For years the regiment has alternated camps between North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune and the mountains of Jamaica. While soldiers will return to Camp Lejeune this year, the regiment is looking at alternative locations for 2014.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Brian Gonsalves said because of budget cuts in recent years the regiment has had to find ways to “get more bang for our buck.

“Everybody has a reduced budget. We have to make do with what we are getting. Of course, the regiment has not been told we can do less. We still have to provide the same standard of service.”

While he described Jamaica as a great area for a wide variety of training opportunities, he said the facilities did not align with the regiment’s focus on internal security.

“We have had to look for facilities that offer the right training for the mission at task. Jamaica does have facilities for internal security training, but they can only accommodate a reduced number of soldiers, Gonsalves said, adding there were additional costs for running the training missions in Jamaica.

Along with a charter flight being more expensive than those to North Carolina, the regiment also has to ship a container of equipment to Jamaica in advance of the camps.

Gonsalves said a likely choice instead of Jamaica would be the Meaford Training Area in northern Ontario, Canada.

Despite the likely move, Gonsalves said the bond between the regiment and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) would remain strong.

“We have enjoyed a relationship with the JDF going back to the 1960s. They have been helpful beyond words. They would give you the shirt off their back. This does not mean the end of that relationship,” he added.

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