WEDNESDAY, NOV. 7: A slimmed-down full-time Regiment would be around the size of a British Army company of around 100 troops, National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief said yesterday.

Mr Perinchief announced a major review to assess Bermuda’s needs to deal with security and natural disasters in the wake of a commitment to end military conscription.

The Regiment is gearing up to take over marine security and other uniformed services. Mr Perinchief said: “The review should take account of the real technical, practical and legal needs of Bermuda’s security arrangements.”

The Regiment currently has just under 400 soldiers — British Army battalion size — made up of a mix of conscripts and volunteers, backed by a full-time core staff of around 30 officers and other ranks.

Mr Perinchief said the review board, which will include a civilian chairman, Deputy Governor David Arkley, Secretary of National Security Maj Marc Telemaque and representatives from all the uniformed services.

He added that after the committee is set up he would expect a report on his desk within six months.

Mr Perinchief said one of the goals is “to ensure there is no expensive duplication of capital investment or roles”.

The Throne Speech on Friday signalled that a timetable for the end of conscription in Bermuda would be drawn up by the fall of next year, clearing the way for a smaller, professional force to take its place.

Mr Perinchief added that new red and green “nothing to declare” channels would be operational at Bermuda’s airport by Monday, November 19.

He said: “This will benefit Bermudians and returning residents as well as making the airport experience easier and faster for our business travellers.”

He added that work permit holders and business visitors would also find it easier to get in and out of the island with the minimum of bother.

Mr Perinchief said: “Several kinds of work permits are no longer paper, but are easy to carry, card size with machine readable capability. We will continue to work towards a paperless system within the area of border control.”

In addition, he said that it was hoped to reduce the waiting time for Bermuda passports down to a working week of five or six days.