Defence Force: Masks would have hindered passing-out parade

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard recruits, march at the TT Defence Force joint recruit passing out parade, at Teteron Barracks, Chaguaramas on Tuesday. Photo by Angelo Marcelle

THIS WEEK’s graduates of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force were unmasked during their passing-out parade because it would have been extremely difficult to perform their drills while masked.

A Defence Force member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the because of the heat, the difficulty of the drills and the time spent on parade in the heat, it would have been hard for the 170 recruits to be masked.

“They all would not have lasted on that parade with masks on in that heat, standing in one position. Also, they were in a bubble, with no interaction with the outside world.”

On Tuesday 105 soldiers, 42 sailors and 23 members of the air guard graduated from training and had a passing-out parade at Teteron Barracks, Chaguaramas.

All the participants were unmasked throughout the proceedings.

Last August the public health regulations made mask-wearing mandatory in public. The law carries a $1,000 fine for first offenders, $2,000 for second-timers and $3,000 for third-time offenders.

Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forced recruits, march at the TT Defence Force joint recruit passing out parade, at Teteron Barracks, Chaguaramas on Tuesday. Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Asked about the violation of the health regulation, communications manager for the Defence Force Lt Sherron Manswell said the recruits had all been isolated.

“The Defence Force implemented a medical bubble for the training environment for the recruits which was managed by the Medical Department. In addition to the bubble, all recruits and instructors were tested for covid19 prior to entry into the training bubble.

“During the five months, the recruits and training staff were confined to the bubble at Teteron Barracks, with no contact from the public nor military personnel not affiliated to the training programme.”

Tuesday’s passing-ceremony out was the second this year. The first. in May. also included a medical bubble for the training period. Those who graduated on that occasion also did not wear masks during the ceremony.