Tuesday 29 October marks one year since the arrival in Cayman of His Excellency the Governor Mr Martyn Roper and his wife Elisabeth.
Reflecting on his first year in Cayman, Mr Roper said:
“As I said when I arrived, it is a great honour and privilege to have been appointed Governor of the Cayman Islands by Her Majesty The Queen. I take great pride in doing my utmost to serve all the people of these wonderful islands and supporting our community in whatever way I can. Every day I learn something new about Cayman’s unique culture, heritage and traditions, in which there is so much for Caymanians to feel so much pride. I regularly meet a diverse range of people with different nationalities from across our Islands. That diversity is one of our great strengths.
My first year has certainly been busy. Last January I visited New York to support the Financial Services industry. In March, I had the honour to host Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Government House and then there were Ministerial visits by Lord Ahmad, Overseas Territories Minister and earlier this month the Minister for the Armed Forces, the Rt Hon Mark Lancaster MP TD. These visits cemented the strong and enduring links between the UK and the Cayman Islands.
Working closely with the Premier and Ministers, my office has continued to support Cayman in many areas building on our strong local talent and experience while deploying UK technical expertise in areas where that is helpful. We seconded a UK Border Force official to CBC and have been actively supporting the transition of border security to an intelligence led approach. We are also planning to bring over UK experts to provide advice on the use of dogs at the border and within the RCIPS. On prisons, we worked on the establishment of the new Independent Monitoring Board for Cayman’s Prison and recently funded a review of mental health services in the prison system.
Disaster management is a key area which affects us all. The UK part-funded our new RCIPS helicopter, which arrived in March. In addition to its disaster response role, the aircraft provides greater capability in law enforcement and search and rescue. We arranged for the deployment of the helicopter to the Bahamas and ensured it was tasked effectively by coordinating closely with the British High Commission in Nassau. Together with Hazard Management Cayman Islands we negotiated Cayman’s membership of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), introduced a new casualty management tracking system and are now looking to fund improvements to our early warning systems.
My office has also worked with other international partners, supporting plans to establish a Cayman Office in Hong Kong, beginning negotiations on a law enforcement MOU with Jamaica and discussing bilateral issues with Cuba. Most recently we started the process for establishing a Cayman Defence Regiment for the Cayman Islands, which has received a positive welcome and will support our disaster preparedness and security. Over the last year I have also reinvigorated the monthly National Security Council to ensure a strong focus on law and order.
There were also many lighter moments. I’ve enjoyed a truly CaymanKind welcome everywhere and been fed many wonderful local dishes at regular intervals! I’ve been kidnapped as part of Pirates Week, learnt to play the steel pan, come face to face with Peter the Blue Iguana and learnt the intricacies of plaiting thatch!
In order to be accessible I’ve enjoyed using social media over the last 12 months including Instagram (@govcaymanislands), Facebook and Twitter (@martynroper). I would encourage anyone who hasn’t done so to have a look at these sites.
In the coming months, I will continue to work hard to enhance the security and prosperity on these Islands, supporting the elected government, politicians, business, civil society and every member of our community. As we look around the world, we should be thankful, not only for our relative peace and security, but also for the freedoms, good governance and democracy that we all enjoy.