Premier's Update on the Cayman Islands Regiment
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to provide this Honourable House with an update about the Cayman Islands Regiment. I am happy to impart some more good news about the regiment since I last spoke about them during our debate on the Defence Bill 2020 in October.
Many will have read that Second Lieutenant Nathan Dack became the second in the Regiment’s short history to win Best International Student Award at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, following in the footsteps of Lieutenant Halston Farley who won the award while on the same course in May.
Second Lieutenant Dack passed out of the British army institution in November along with fellow Caymanian Officer Cadet Tyler Lawson and other Overseas Territories cadets following an eight week course at Sandhurst, which involved leadership, fitness, decision making and giving them the skills to support their regiments. The two of them are nearing the end of their time in quarantine since returning from the UK.
To date seven officers from the Regiment have graduated from Sandhurst and more recruits will be sent there in the future. The United Kingdom, in tandem with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, will continue to arrange for and fund training for future recruits at Sandhurst.
Personally, Mr. Speaker the success of our Caymanian officers at Sandhurst and the awards received came as no surprise to me. The resilience, dedication and commitment of all our recruits are admirable and highly commendable. We saw that dedication as they worked in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Eta. It was a truly heart-warming moment to spend time with them and to see them at work.
The 17 personnel deployed during Eta were spread across all districts of Grand Cayman and were heavily involved in support to Hazard Management Cayman Islands in reconnaissance, delivery of vital supplies and evacuating persons from flooded properties and transporting them to safe location.
Right now the strength of the Regiment is 58 with 69 per cent of their number being Caymanian.
In an update I received from Leftenant Colonel Simon Watson on Wednesday, there are 55 candidates in the latter stages of the selection process prior to basic training, which begins in February. They range in age from 18 to 50 and of these, 67 per cent are Caymanian and their number includes a number of candidates from Cayman Brac.
These recruits will be trained by a Short-Term Training Team from the United Kingdom military, which is scheduled to arrive in late January and undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine before kicking off the two-week course.
The training team coming from the United Kingdom will also bring full supplies of kit and equipment for the new recruits as well as additional kit for the existing reservists.
Looking ahead Mr. Speaker, the year 2021 will involve initial training of Cohort 2 and continued training for Cohort 1. There will also be an emphasis on the procurement of vehicles and equipment to allow the safe training and deployment of the Regiment.
Our Regiment is a reserve force whose main duties include providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, assisting the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the Cayman Islands Coast Guard when called upon, as well as to participate during ceremonial occasions. Their motto is “Prepared in Adversity” and it speaks to their purpose. Mr. Speaker, given the training already provided and being planned, this Honourable House can be assured that this Government takes this motto seriously.
I again express my appreciation to the Governor and his staff and the FCDO for their unwavering support for the Cayman Islands Regiment.
Mr. Speaker I am very proud of the way in which the Regiment is developing and I look forward to providing further updates as the men and women in the Cayman Islands Regiment continue to do good works and gain accolades.
Thank you Mr. Speaker.