Vincentians sail in on British Navy Ship
November 1, 2013

Vincentians sail in on British Navy Ship

The experience gained from being recruited to the British Royal Navy has transformed Jason Dean and fellow naval officer Chris Veira into mature and professional individuals.{{more}}

Now, the two Vincentians, who have a combined 17 years serving in the Royal Navy, are encouraging other Vincentians to take up the challenge.

Veira and Dean, along with two other Vincentians, Nazan Lewis and Glenroy Peters, were among a crew of 190 aboard the HMS Lancaster, which visited St Vincent and the Grenadines as part of this country’s Independence celebrations.

Dean, 31, joined the British Navy 10 years ago. He now performs the duties as a Leading Writer (LWtr) on the British warship. The former Akers resident, in an interview with members of the media on-board the ship last Friday, explained that the opportunities to be derived from joining the army are beyond expectation.

“If you want to take up a challenge that’s worth doing, then I suggest joining the military. I’ve grown a lot since I’ve joined, professionally and with experience as well,” Dean said.

Very often, when one is told about joining the army or navy, they first assume that they will be going to fight war. However, according to Dean, this is not so.

“We do other stuff as well. We’re here in the Caribbean, for example, providing disaster relief. We are also doing narcotic patrols as well.

“So, it’s not just about going to war. It’s all about going out there to protect the UK waters and enjoy yourself while doing it,” the HMS Lancaster Leading Writer said.

He said it is hard work, but “definitely worth it.”

“You are away from the UK and you are away from home, but just to have the pleasure and the experience of visiting other countries, you really can’t beat that.

“Most of our guys from St Vincent do have a chance of getting recruited to the British Army.

“Educationally, they are well qualified to join the military, yes. But I wouldn’t say it depends educationally so much. It’s more about building up that courage and say this is what I want to do and go for it,” he added.

Dean last visited St Vincent and the Grenadines in 2010 and said he was excited to be back, especially on such an occasion.

“To come back alongside St Vincent on a British war- ship, Independence weekend, I really can’t ask for anymore.”

Veira, meanwhile, is the Leading Supply Chain officer for the HMS Lancaster.

The 30-year-old was recruited seven years ago.

Veira disclosed that the challenges of joining the navy are great, but once adjusted, “everything falls into place.

“Acclimatizing was the biggest transition when I first arrived, other than leaving your family. But after a while, you get accustomed to being away.

“Physically being in the navy is quite an experience,” Veira said.

Veira also spoke of his most memorable experience which was being deployed to the Mediterranean Sea for about seven months.

“That was a good experience. I think this is one of my best deployments so far…”

He, however, warned that performing the duties of a military officer requires discipline, courage and commitment.

Like Dean, Veira last visited St Vincent three years ago and returning home on-board a warship was even more exciting for him.

“It’s wonderful. I haven’t been here for the past three years. So I’m excited to be back this short time and for a moment like this, our Independence.”

The ship’s Captain’s Leading Steward (LStd) Glenroy Peters, 41, is from Mesopotamia in St Vincent and joined the Royal Navy in 2003.

The father of six said he was looking forward to seeing his parents Annella and Elroy Peters and that this would be the second time he has been able to return home on his job.

“My favourite drafts are the Caribbean deployments,” he said.

“I was on HMS Liverpool in 2004 and now on HMS Lancaster, where both times I have had the opportunity to return to the island of my birth and see my family and friends.”

LStd Peters, whose hobbies include reading fiction and watching films, attended the St Vincent Grammar School in Kingstown until 1986. He then worked in construction and for Royal Caribbean International cruise ships before joining the Royal Navy at the age of 31.