By Christopher Tobutt
It was Cayman’s proudest day, and their finest hour. 51 of Cayman finest young men and women, who compose the very first Cayman Islands Regiment took part in their passing out parade, in front of H.E The Governor, Martyn Roper and Hon. Premier, Alden McLaughlin, to herald the completion of the gruelingly intense two-week training course. The parade took place at the Truman Bodden Sports Stadium on Sunday 16 August.
Most members of the new regiment, which will focus on humanitarian relief in the aftermath of a natural disaster, are going to be part-time reservists, who will gather for training exercises several times a week for a total of around 16 hours a month. But they will be led by five, full-time Caymanian officers, of the new regiment who each underwent an even more rigorous training atthe UK’s Sandhurst Academy, which is widely held to be the toughest officer training academy in the world.
The reservists undertook two weeks of training here in the Cayman Islands, that consisted of map reading, an overnight exercise at the Agricultural Grounds, physical fitness and drill in the hot sun every day, humanitarian aid training, and disaster recovery training. “Nobody dropped out, which is something that usually happens during recruitment training,” said one of training officers who oversaw the programme. “The amount of pride among the recruits has been incredible. They have not flinched from any task they have been given, even running up and down hills with sandbags. Usually you have people dropping out, and people that the directing staff say aren’t good enough, so neither of those things has occurred. Its amazing. I think the island will be very proud of them.”
Mr. McLaughlin said that the vision for Cayman’s very own regiment began after witnessing how the Bermuda Regiment came to Cayman’s aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, in 2004, and made a strong impression on him. He thanked the Governor for his support seeing his vision appear. “God bless the Cayman Regiment,” he said.
Governor Martyn Roper said, “It is an amazing feat that this event is able to take place at all in 2020. No other country in history has established a regiment so quickly during a global pandemic.” Mr. Roper explained that the idea for Cayman’s very own regiment really got off the ground following the visit last year by Rt. Hon Mark Lancaster, the UK Minister of State for Armed Forces. “It was the enthusiasm and passion of the people who the minister met during that visit that encouraged him to offer the full support of the UK ministry of Defence and we can see the tangible result of that support today,” he said.
The RCIPS marching band played ‘Munzie Boat in the Sound,’ as the sun began casting long shadows across the stadium, and gleaming on the brass insignia on the proud reservists smart uniforms. It was then that both the Governor and the Premier walked through the ranks, greeting and congratulating Cayman’s finest.
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