I write to offer what I see as a divergent and constructive alternative to the government establishing a regiment at this time, albeit one of reservists. Now let me make it clear, I am not saying that such a proposal is a complete ‘hare-brained scheme’. What I wish to establish is that at this particular time, rather than build a regiment, resources and efforts would more constructively be spent on helping the jurisdiction prepare for climate change.
The government would be better advised to use money to set up programmes to monitor sea level rise, coastal erosion, oil spillages, predict tsunamis and prevent storm-surge flooding. Money should be spent to build at least one Category 5 hurricane-resistant shelter in each major population centre such as the one started by the Church of God Chapel in Bodden Town.
This model offers the example of a partnership in which all of the expense would not have to be borne solely by government, and in times of no threat from hurricanes the building could be used for other purposes. Such buildings would not only be sources of shelter for persons whose dwellings are vulnerable by virtue of poor construction, etc., but also provide shelter to those persons living in flood-prone and storm surge-prone areas.
After this has been satisfactorily accomplished (and only then), should attention be turned to the establishment of any regiment. Furthermore, the same objective can be achieved by developing and training a properly equipped Civil Defence Unit. Such a unit could then have a detachment in each district and could ideally work in tandem with the Red Cross to provide disaster-management support.
This in my opinion is a more practical solution at this time. The matter of a regiment, while sounding popular, is fraught with organisational challenges and would be better developed after achieving the things mentioned in paragraph two.
J.A. Roy Bodden