Lt Shea-Tai Smith briefs his section commanders in Jamaica in 2010. *Photo supplied
Lt Shea-Tai Smith briefs his section commanders in Jamaica in 2010. *Photo supplied

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25: Soldiers from the Bermuda Regiment will this weekend leave for a gruelling two-week annual training exercise in the mountains of Jamaica.

Troops taking part in Exercise Rum Runner will put their on-island training to use in the testing environment of the Caribbean island's Blue Mountains.

Lt Shea-Tai Smith, who took part in the 2010 trip to Jamaica, said overseas exercises, even in a recession, were worth the money and vital to building team spirit among recruits – and gave them space not available in Bermuda to ensure realistic exercises.

Lt Smith added: “Exercises that the troops engage in while in Jamaica are primarily team-building and allow unlikely leaders to step up to the plate.”

And he said: “Bermuda always needs to have a capable and well-trained unit prepared for emergencies. In case of a security issue or hurricane, the troops’ overseas training equips them to respond effectively and ensure public safety.

“Bermuda does not have the space for troops to carry out some of the tasks they are required to do to the full extent.

“Overseas camps also include experiences in the US, Canada and England – these prove to be equally valuable because of the different and unique facilities they offer.”

He added that troops come back as “better citizens having taken charge to help keep their comrades safe and carry out their tasks to the best of their ability.”

As well as infantry training, the men and women of the Regiment will be involved in Outward Bound style training like abseiling, river crossing, jungle survival, orienteering and other activities aimed at developing endurance and problem-solving ability.

Regiment CO Lt Col. Brian Gonsalves added: “The Regiment’s almost biannual role of post-hurricane relief is well practiced for in Jamaica as the soldiers have to work in thick vegetation, without electricity and in extreme heat, while remaining focused and dedicated to the task at hand.”

Newly appointed Regimental Sergeant Major Gavin Rayner said the troops would get some down-time – but warned them any involvement in illegal activity would not be tolerated.

He added that, if any soldier was arrested by the Jamaican authorities he and Regiment Adjutant Captain Ben Beasley “wouldn’t be in a rush” to get them out of Jamaica’s tough prison system.

Capt Beasley added that officers and other ranks would have all their possessions searched on the outward and home flights.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the Regiment should contact 238 1045 or visit www.bermudaregiment.bm.