The Rt Hon Mark Lancaster TD MP the UK Minster of State for the Armed Forces, HE the Governor Martyn Roper and the Premier Hon Alden McLaughlin have announced a proposal for a Cayman Regiment. Their announcement follows nearly a year’s worth of talks between the UK and Cayman Islands governments, aimed at boosting Cayman’s local and regional capability in dealing with disaster management and security issues, as and when they arose.
They envisage a group of reservist military personnel, rather than full-time soldiers. Most of the personnel would be voluntary and part time, with just a few regular full-time officers involved. Reservists are soldiers who have regular civilian jobs, and are called out in time of a country’s need, as well as being obligated to attend training and ongoing training exercises on special days or at weekends. There will also be a special group who will be sent out from the UK before Christmas, to scope out a plan on how to proceed, but it is hoped the new regiment should be operational by the end of next year.
Premier Hon Alden McLaughlin said: “Having a specially trained Regiment in Cayman would have a positive impact on youth development and leadership on the Islands. It will also give a boost to security and increase our resilience on disaster management and the support we could offer across the wider Caribbean. I am pleased that the UK are keen to support this initiative and we welcome their expertise and involvement.
“I think this is something very positive in the territories. I think that the assistance we are able to render to the brothers and sisters in the region in the aftermath of Irma and Maria, more recently Dorian in the Bahamas makes it very clear that collectively as a region we need to be able to work together to assist each other, because as we say in these parts: ‘tomorrow for you, today for me.’”
Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said: “The UK enjoys a close and historical bond with the Cayman Islands and through helping to establish the Islands’ first Regiment we are strengthening this relationship even further. We are committed to the safety and security of the Overseas Territories.
“By creating a network across the region we will effectively then have a structure which everybody recognizes is affiliated to the army reserve, and the discipline and structure which that brings really helps in times of crisis because it means that we can mutually support each other and that is why finding this structure is probably the best way of finding this resilience for Cayman.
Governor Roper said: “I am delighted we are able to announce this exciting new initiative, which is a further example of the strong and enduring Cayman and UK partnership. The establishment of the Cayman Regiment will help reinforce hurricane assistance and disaster relief capability in the Cayman Islands as well as the other Overseas Territories and across the region. It will also help bolster security more generally and help to develop skills amongst Cayman’s young people and provide a further avenue for the Cadets when they reach the age of 18. It will be a Cayman force, and one option is to have an association with a part of the UK army, and the Royal Engineers would be a very good way of doing that.”