Level playing field in the British Military
March 23, 2007
Level playing field in the British Military

The playing field is level in the British Military – soldiers coming from St Vincent and the Grenadines and other Caribbean countries cannot claim discrimination if they do not climb the military ladder of success.

“They are promoted on ability, capability, if they do not progress up the ranks it will be their fault,” was the confident statement of Sandra-Tyler-Haywood, the non resident British Commissioner to St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

At a press conference called to announce the March 30 closure of the Local British High Commission, Tyler-Haywood said that the United Kingdom will continue to recruit military personnel from the region.

Stating that the service of the regional personnel has been greatly welcomed in the British military, Tyler- Haywood said that just over a year ago her Government corrected a situation that was unfair to the military personnel.

Previously, after serving their required tour of duty, Caribbean nationals could not stay on in Britain and had to return to their homelands.

“This wasn’t fair so we have changed this – so now a soldier from the Caribbean can choose to stay on in the UK and get stamped as a resident and even apply for nationality,” she explained.

She however noted that while the policy was unfair, there wasn’t an outcry about it because most Caribbean nationals who serve in the military prefer to return home anyway.

“But we had to correct it so that they would know that the option was there and they are being treated with the respect that they deserve,” she said.

Tyler-Haywood who has worked in the British Foreign Office since 1989 told journalists that her government was committed to continuing the cooperation that they shared with St Vincent and the Grenadines and the other Caribbean territories in the battle against the drug trade.

“We recognize that illegal drugs are greatly affecting our societies and so we are committed to the fight against the trade,” she said.

The diplomat who served in China and Portugal before coming to the Caribbean said that that the United Kingdom is interested in continuing to deepen its cooperation in the area of crime and drugs intelligence gathering, crucial to the fight.

The closure of the Kingstown office has been described by Tyler-Haywood as simply a cost cutting measure.

“This is not an indication of a diminishing interest in St Vincent and the Grenadines but rather looking to continue our present level of contact and work with the islands whilst reducing the costs of our overall operation,” a press release states.

The release also promises, as Tyler-Haywood said, continued co-operation in the security sector: in the fight against drug trafficking and financial crime.

While a local honorary Consul would be appointed to deal with minor problems, Tyler-Haywood would travel to St. Vincent as necessary to deal with any major issues involving British Nationals.