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Honourable Tara Rivers, Minister for Home Affairs Remarks on the Annual Hurricane Exercise May 20, 2020

Local News 22 May, 2020 Follow News

Honourable Tara Rivers, Minister for Home Affairs Remarks on the Annual Hurricane Exercise May 20, 2020

Firstly, I wish to thank everyone from all Ministries and the Departments that have been working with and alongside the Health Services Authority, Hazard Management Cayman Islands and all our first response agencies to deal with the COVID-19 challenge we are currently tackling; and in doing so performing to the high standards expected of a world class civil service. I also wish to thank The Governor’s Office and UK SAT Team for their continued support. We are all doing our part and can be truly proud of what we have achieved to date!

COVID-19 has led to the full-scale activation of the Cayman Islands National Emergency Operations Centre which has now been fully operational for well over two months. This is unprecedented for the Cayman Islands.

This has been an incredibly challenging time for us all, with no clear end yet in sight. Many of the people in this room have worked tirelessly and courageously nearly every day since the beginning. I want you to know that the whole country greatly appreciates the work you’re all doing, including those on the frontline. We all depend on you and you have not let us down.

We are strong, we are willing, we are determined, and we are God Fearing; and together we are achieving amazing results. We are in the top 7 in the world for testing, we’ve created field hospitals, world class communications and excellent resource support. Without letting up – we are staying focused, even though almost every day we are presented with never before seen challenges.

Despite all the difficulties the people of the Cayman Islands have faced this year, we continue to persevere. On top of what you are currently facing head on with Coronavirus, yet another hazard looms.

If we continue to keep COVID-19 at bay, I believe in many ways, our current activation works in our favour as we approach the start of the season that presents the number one threat to life and property in the Cayman Islands.

It gives us an opportunity to engage with, and also look past, our current response for COVID and the mitigation measures in place for other threats and consider our state of readiness. It forces us to build our resilience and fortitude, and with our whole mechanism already fully activated, we have probably never been as ready for a hurricane as we are right now.

This experience has undoubtably made us all stronger! I want you to resist the temptation to back down at this point as we look to carry the momentum we’ve created forward as we prepare for hurricane season. I ask you to look at this as a tremendous opportunity to make ourselves more resilient than we have ever been before. If we just spend a few minutes each day considering that threat, and how it relates to COVID-19, we will build our capacity and strength as a team.

Now is not the time to let up and rest on our laurels. I am challenging each of us to ask ourselves, our families, and especially our Emergency Support Teams (ESTs) and Clusters here in the NEOC – what are we doing to build capacity and resilience?

We are in a unique position to really start to factor in ways to reduce our core vulnerabilities and to put our collective minds together to overcome the challenges – and if we do that - we will get even stronger.

So, right now I want us to up the ante and build on the successes we have already had as a team. Thank you, and God Bless you all and these fair Cayman Isles.

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