The Cayman Islands Regiment (CIR) concluded a nine-day “enduring response” deployment exercise as the culmination of a series of training exercises aimed to facilitate any future deployment to provide national emergency support.
The exercise was designed to train, prepare and test CIR personnel to endure outdoor living conditions with minimal shelter, power, air conditioning and other essentials and to respond to an emergency or national disaster, in which there might be difficulty with transportation and shelter.
Throughout the training exercise, operating bases were established at the Ed Bush Stadium in West Bay and Barefoot Beach in East End.
Commenting on the training exercises, CIR Captain Gabe Rabess explained “CIR personnel received training on preparing personal shelter, how to cook meals using ration packs, and clearing the camp area after setup to ensure limited exposure and risks to the environment from hazards such as fires. They also received training on personal hygiene, hand signals, and casualty evacuation simulations.”
“There was torrential rain for the first two to three days at our West Bay deployment base, so conditions were great for training in heavy rain and tropical storm weather like conditions,” noted CIR Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Watson.
In addition to self-sufficiency training, CIR personnel also underwent a 24-hour exercise at Barefoot Beach.
“We dropped off our personnel in North Side, five kilometres away from Barefoot Beach, they then carried out a loaded march with 55lb of kit with all the key necessities they would need. This included a sleeping system, water and food and all the tools, clothing and equipment necessary to survive for 24 – 48hrs. This was done to test personnel on self-sufficiency and endurance in all-weather system scenarios to determine speed, efficiency and resiliency, to provide aid if needed in an emergency. Though it was tough they successfully completed the exercise with 55 pounds in just over 50 mins”, explained Lieutenant Colonel Watson.
As a uniformed service, the ethos of the CIR is building on the Cayman Islands’ resilience to provide a national reserve service and support to all three islands. As such all CIR training is undertaken in collaboration and partnership with other emergency services, such as Hazard Management (HMCI) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS), Cayman Islands Coast Guard (CICG) and Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS). This ensures personnel are trained to provide resilience and support in any national emergency such as an earthquake, pandemic, tropical storm, hurricane or major fire.
“The training exercise was an opportunity to instil teamwork and partnership amongst our personnel building on team strength in the outdoors under difficult conditions. CIR also wanted to take this opportunity to provide an environmental service to our community as it was important for us to leave any training area or environment in a better condition. As such we reached out to Plastic Free Cayman, a fantastic local environmental organization doing great work on our beaches, to collaborate with us on a beach clean-up. Sixty members of the regiment along with Plastic Free Cayman came together to clear debris, litter and plastics previously along Barefoot Beach,” commented Lieutenant Colonel Watson.
Claire Hughes, head of Plastic Free Cayman, noted “We joined the Regiment on their beach clean-up today because it’s vital to get plastic off our beaches. By doing so we prevent it from breaking up into smaller microplastics which are detrimental to our environment. We found a lot of bottle caps, micro plastics, bottles and straws, fishing line, plastic toothbrushes washed up making up over 600lbs. In addition, a massive metal structure from a dock or part of boat, possibly from Hurricane Ivan was removed from beach.”
Commenting on the annual training and the Ministry’s overall development plans for the CI Regiment, Minister for Home Affairs Hon. Min. Sabrina Turner noted, “as part of my Ministry introductory meeting I met with Lieutenant Colonel Watson and his team to discuss plans and development of the Regiment, as well as planning for this training exercise.”
“Over the weekend, I spent some time with the CIR personnel who were deployed in the training exercise. As they were preparing for the 5km and air simulation exercises, I was able to see how they were doing and what this experience has been like for them. Most importantly, I was able to thank them for their dedication and willingness to support our uniformed service infrastructure in the event of a national emergency, while also supporting the Cayman Islands Government’s vision for sustainability and developing on our national reservists in service,” Minister Turner continued.
For more information on the efforts of CI Regiment follow them@caymanislandsregiment. To volunteer with Plastic Free Cayman follow them@plastic_free_cayman .