For the first time, all the Commanding Officers (COs) of the British Overseas Regiments and Defence Forces have met together in conference in the United Kingdom.
Lieutenant Colonel Alvin Ryan, Commanding Officer of the Royal Montserrat Defence Force joined his counterparts for the first meeting of all the British Overseas regiments and defence forces in the United Kingdom from 5 – 8 April 2022.
Only five of the British OTS have regiments or defence forces. These Overseas Territories Units are the Royal Montserrat Defence Force, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, the Falkland Island Defence Force, the Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment and the Cayman Islands Regiment.
According to a statement from the RMDF, the officers discussed how each unit could assist the other in their future development. These include avenues for joint training opportunities, as well as mutual assistance in the event of need. As part of conference, the COs met with representatives within the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Ministry of Defence to discuss the roles of the Overseas Territory Units within the United Kingdom set up and how both arms of the UK Government could provide assistance to the units in carrying out their various mandates.
The conference was originally slated for Bermuda, however, with the Royal Gibraltar Regiment taking up public duties in the UK, the conference was shifted. This location proved to be ideal as it provided additional opportunities to meet with UK officials who could further support the development of the units.
The Royal Gibraltar Regiment’s Public Duties include guard duties at Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, St James’s Palace, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. Their tenure of duties will run from 21 March – 15 April 2022. As part of the conference the COs had the privilege of watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.
The Officer of the Deputy Governor was very instrumental in facilitating Lt. Col. Ryan’s attendance at the conference and the RMDF is grateful for this support. Lt Col. Ryan said he was pleased with the outcome of the conference, and it has strengthened the bonds of friendship between all of the units. He sees this as an opportunity for the advancement of all the OT Units with a unified voice for training and resources.