With the upsurge of interest relating to Sgt Blackmans case pending his new legal team’s submission to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, there has been a lot of discussion between members and with RMA Central Office about this matter.
The RMA Trustees and Executive are obliged by the Association’s Bye-Laws to maintain the position about Sgt Blackman that was announced previously. For clarification, the Bye-Laws make it clear that as an organisation we cannot become involved in this matter: “In no circumstances shall the Association or any of the Regional Committees or Branches publicly express any views in connection with any political, industrial or legal dispute or engage in any activities in connection therewith.” This is particularly relevant now that Sgt Blackmans case has achieved such a high public profile and is undergoing due legal process. However, this does not mean that the RMA does not support him and his family: far from it.
The RMA, with the RMCTF, supports Sgt Blackman and his family both directly and when requested, by virtue of both charities’ commitment to provide appropriate charitable support to all serving and retired Royal Marines and their dependents. In addition, the RMA holds separate funds that have been [and continue to be] donated for their support and for their benefit. The regular Corps has giving welfare support to Sgt Blackman and his family from the outset of the case and will continue to do so, again on the basis that he remains a member of the Corps Family.
It is understood that this matter is emotive has aroused strong opinions, often bordering on the divisive. The RMA view is no matter what the outcome of Al Blackmans appeal to the CCRC, the best support that can be provided for him and his family throughout this very difficult and lengthy chapter of their lives is by all Royal Marines, serving and former, remaining loyal to each other and to the Globe and Laurel that has united our Corps for so long, marching in the same direction, being open to the views of others and maintaining the values of the Commando Ethos. A divided and arguing community will play into the hands of those who revel in creating disharmony, will risk damaging the Corps’ hard-won reputation and will ultimately undermine the strength of our Corps Family.
Ron Bell JP
Chairman of Trustees