This past Thursday we found out what the pay increase is to be. We had been told previously that the pay would match that which a police officer of the same level is paid. The actual increase? Well it’s almost double to $30.23 a drill. So quite a large increase by percentage, but what exactly is a drill? Well tonights session is one example of what is counted as a drill. Typically sessions that last as short as 2 and as long as 4 hours in which we do various exercises.
We were to complete CPFA’s, which may stand for combat personal fitness assessment though I’m not certain. That meant we had to do pushups, situps and a 1.5 mile run. The problem is, we have absolutely no clue why we’re doing this. All we’re told is that we’re to do CPFA’s, little more. How are these CPFA’s going to help us in an emergency scenario? It isn’t like we’re doing constant training, rather just 3 different styles of tests, a pack run, range shooting and tonights debacle. We don’t have a clear understanding of why all this is actually useful. By present law, we won’t ever be required to go overseas to war, so why are we doing the training for it? It more so seems like we’re just doing it because thats what militaries do, only without the actual training, just tests.
Why were doing what we’re doing is a question that comes up often among conscripts see little value in what we’re being asked to do. You can discount those who volunteered for it because this is something that they wanted to do, but even when talking to some of those who joined the cadre, ultimately the only value I’m hearing the ones I talk to describe is being able to boss people around if they get rank.
Without knowing what the point is, it’s hard to accept why we’re suppose to be thrilled that we’re ultimately going to be paid between $10 and $15 an hour for what for many seems pointless. Certainly any money is appreciated considering we’re forced against our will, but the key sentiment that echoes among many recruits is that we’re not respected nor are we appreciated. We’re not respected among the community as sometimes people laugh at us. We’re not respected by the community or government because rather then paying a wage comparible to any basic job, we’re conscripted into when, as a victim of it, feels like slave labour.
What is the true point of the regiment? I’ve heard the speel that regiment’s primary goal is to support the police in times of need, but really, that argument is losing weight as time passes. So far we’ve learned how to create vehicle checkpoints which best forseeable purpose likely falls within the regiment policing itself rather then assisting the police. We’ve guarded a literal fortress with security so good the only flaw was that common members of the regiment learning the gate code and having unrestricted access to the computers inside. The two most critical flaws in the "key points" security were that the regiment was trying to guard it in the first place. What is the point?
I’ve heard the arguement of regiment serving as an entity for hurricane support which is fair and reasonable for we certainly do need support in times when our country needs it most. It has been suggested that following fabian, the regiment worked so fast to restore things that Works and Engineering staffed complained about regiment stealing their overtime pay. This suggests one of two things to me, either Works and Engineering staff don’t work efficiently or it’s easier to get work done when you can have a load more workers you conscript and pay slave wages.
Of course you may heavily disagree, but isn’t it easy to turn a blind eye when the discrimination isn’t happening to you? As Martin Niemöller once said of the Nazi’s
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
Regiment is appearing more and more like a really expensive insurance plan for a disaster that because the actual work comes cheap, seems like a good investment. Despite what you believe, The Regiment isn’t doing much to provide adjustment to Bermuda’s youth. Instead it’s introducing even more contempt for authority as for everyone but the conscripts the law doesn’t apply if you’re the ranking individual. How can one respect the rules of an organization if the leadership opts to not follow it’s own rules?
I’m having a harder and harder time justifying the need for an army as opposed to a mostly full-time/part time volunteer disaster response force. If the bulk of what is necessary is extra hands in the event of a disaster, then take the necessary steps to make it a reality without conscription. Right now we’re budgeted to spend $9 million on the regiment, how well is that money being spent? How much would an insurance plan offered by our local reinsurance companies cover us? How many million would they pay out in a disaster scenario if we were to take a few of those millions and put them towards insurance coverage that would cover the costs of paying the overtime of Works and Engineering staff? What if the other few million left over were to go towards a smaller full-time contingent of soldiers, or better, coast guard style staff? Ones fully trained in various skills that are critical in times of crisis as opposed to a contingent of poorly trained ‘soldiers’ which is as much a product of our lack of proper resources, limited ethusiasm due to lack of purpose and respect and limited training due to our part time nature.
That’d at least be a fair compromise that would eliminate the need for conscription and give regiment or whatever other entity that is to help us in times of emergency the respect it deserves and even further, the capacity to truly serve our community in times of need.