Cayman to create military regiment

| 11/10/2019 | 168 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin, Governor Martyn Roper and UK Minister Mark Lancaster inside the RCIPS helicopter hanger

(CNS): The Cayman Islands is taking its first step towards having its own armed defence force, the governor’s office has announced. The revelation that the UK has agreed to help Cayman develop its own military regiment came as Mark Lancaster, UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces, was visiting the jurisdiction. Officials said the step towards a reservist defence unit has been under discussion by Britain and Cayman for some ten months. The aim is to improve security and disaster management here and in the region.

Speaking at a press briefing at the airport hanger on Friday evening, Premier Alden McLaughlin said the idea of a local reserve force goes back to the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan. He said the 2005 PPM administration, in which he served, had explored the concept based on the regiment in Bermuda, but at that time the UK did not support the idea.

Lancaster, who was also at the conference wrapping up his visit, told the press that he began to see the advantages himself when he came to the region and saw the Montserrat regiment in action. As a result, he proposed the idea should move forward for the Cayman Islands.

Governor Martin Roper confirmed that it would be an armed unit but made up of reservists who would be volunteers. While it would fall under his area of responsibility, he stressed that the aim was to make it a local force in partnership with government. He spoke about the regiment being closely linked to the Corps of Royal Engineers and its main purpose was humanitarian.

“We are not creating an army here,” Roper said.

No budget has yet been identified but the premier said he didn’t think it would necessarily be expensive, as those serving would be part-time and only deployed when disaster was to strike in Cayman or in the region. He said it is unlikely it would have more than five permanent staff, with everyone else being paid a per diem when they were called up.

The senior officials stated that both Cayman and the UK would know more about the details soon after a planned scoping exercise by British civilian and military experts. Representatives from the defence ministry and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are expected to come here before the end of the year to conduct an operational needs assessment to find out what will be needed to move this project forward.

Once if gets off the ground, it will be the third overseas territories regiment in the region but not the last, as the governor said the Turks and Caicos Islands has also expressed an interest in a similar type of regiment.

In a press release about the announcement. officials said Britain is expected to provide the logistical advice and support in the first instance but will go on to provide operational training and equipment.

“The UK enjoys a close and historical bond with the Cayman Islands and through helping to establish the Islands’ first regiment we are strengthening this relationship even further,” Lancaster said. “We are committed to the safety and security of the Overseas Territories. Having recently worked with regional partners on the response to Hurricane Dorian, we have demonstrated both the depth of that commitment and value we place on our partnerships in the Caribbean.”

Roper described it as an exciting new initiative, which was an example of the strong and enduring Cayman and UK partnership.

“The establishment of the Cayman Regiment will help reinforce hurricane assistance and disaster relief capability in the Cayman Islands as well as the other Overseas Territories and across the region,” Roper stated. “It will also help bolster security more generally and help to develop skills amongst Cayman’s young people and provide a further avenue for the cadets when they reach the age of 18,” he added.

McLaughlin said he was pleased that the UK was now keen to support the initiative.

“Having a specially trained regiment in Cayman would have a positive impact on youth development and leadership on the Islands,” he stated. “It will also give a boost to security and increase our resilience on disaster management and the support we could offer across the wider Caribbean. I am pleased that the UK are keen to support this initiative and we welcome their expertise and involvement,” he added.

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Category: Politics

Comments (168)

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  1. Mervyn Cumber says:

    So! We must have a “military” disciplined regiment to help only when there are natural disasters which might occur every ten years or more? Come on! This country may have a budget surplus but there are more pressing needs and decisions to be made. I am all for military regiments, but Cayman with 60,000 residents, doesn’t add up?

  2. Mervyn Cumber says:

    The Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, the Bays and Girls Brigades have been around for years! They offer young people the opportunity for young people to become disciplined and well balanced youngsters with lots of respect,and hopefully into their adulthood. It has worked all over the world, so why not Cayman? It needs support and not much from Government for after school activities. The private sector already does plenty. Wake,up, military training is not necessary the best way for youngsters.

    • Rob says:

      The Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, etc are in fact good programs that offer young people the opportunity to become disciplined and well balanced youngsters with lots of respect. You ask why it’s not working here? the reality is a lack of volunteers who actually want to learn the training programs and then instruct young people, young people not readily joining, parents not encouraging their children to join and there are many other competing activities which are more “fun”. All of those factors affect attendance and productivity. There is funding as the he Government has assisted though the Ministry of Youth which can be viewed in the published budget documents.

      It is hoped that in their adulthood the youngsters who pass through such programs, will become involved with the regiment in some form or the other, which can only be beneficial to us as a nation. We want our own people in that regiment.

      The use of military like training is just another option that has also been applied the world over which has also been proven successful.

      People read and say what they want. Having lived though Ivan and being a part of a program that significantly contributed to recovery and seeing the Bermuda Regiment help us out for a few weeks, if we own this and closely monitor what is happening, our people will be better prepared for recovery. In this day and age we best develop our capabilities.

      Of course there are downsides, but lets look at the developments first,

      Memba dis nuh Aldin’s ting, KEKE mentioned “regiment” over 10 – 12 years or more ago.

  3. Deez Boots says:

    “We are not creating an army here,” Roper said.

    I don’t trust that statement. This comes to mind:

    “Left, right, left, right in the government 
    boots, the government boots.”

  4. Anonymous says:

    “How do you feel after reading this?”

    Out of all of the smileys used on that scale, why isn’t there an LOL one?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Cayman does not need to encourage the already growing gun culture.

  6. Mervyn Cumber says:

    Since, this Regiment will be made up of volunteers and trained to cope with disasters natural or man made. Why not just channel the funds through the local Red Cross who already have the people in place to deal with such circumstances and could train new volunteers?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because the Red Cross is there for humanitarian aid. It also does not answer to anyone locally.

      In fact the money you give locally does not necessarily go into the local pot only. It’s a global organization with some questionable governance.

      Also they aren’t going to be focused on clearing roads or securing key infrastructure after a storm.

    • Anonymous says:

      i think if you read between the lines, there is a clear purpose for this. In these disasters there is armed people who go out to loot and hurt others. This is a response to those people.

      • Anonymous says:

        Reading between the lines is a good way to end up with the wrong idea. Or, in this case, a team improperly prepared fro both its stated and implied purpose since it will be fully prepared in neither at the expense of trying to do both.

  7. Anonymous says:

    When is the next election and, please, somebody run for these important posts who care about the islands!

  8. Like I said says:

    A closer step to independence. Who does Alden think he is fooling?? Cayman can’t even feed its people and he talking garbage about defences force. By the way who will he hire? Oh sorry, just another way of bringing in expats to suck the money out of the country. What Alden and his pawns should concentrate on is how to feed the people. Time is coming BoBo when America is going to have to stop the export, to feed its own people, what then?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think some people are missing some potential benefits to the young men and women of the island. If there was a mandatory service requirement the youth of the Cayman Islands would get something that many are missing: discipline and order in their life. They would get some people to look up to and learn some much needed life skills.

    Just saying there is more to consider here before casting it aside as a terrible idea.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is already ample opportunity to give back to the community. Your argument for a military unit is weak.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s sorta what they said with the Cadet Corp. ‘It will be for the young men who need straightening up (and will be unarmed).’ Both of those promises were quickly invalidated in the push to militarize our youth.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can’t have a mandatory service requirement for a voluntary reserve regiment

    • Anonymous says:

      A defense post WILL NOT GO TO CAYMANIANS it will be by status paper holders . We have to take a stand and call an early election before its too late.

  10. Anonymous says:

    We will have our own “Dad’s Army”.

    Alden as Captain Mainwaring
    Moses K. as Sgt Wilson
    Joey Hew as Private Pike (stupid boy)
    Juliana (in drag) as Private Walker (always on to a deal in his favour)

    I’ll leave you to fill out the rest of the characters…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why not station some actual Royal Engineers here? Cayman could pay for them and they would actually be available for humanitarian work. The militia is going to want to deal with their own flooded houses and businesses if a big one hits.

  12. How did we get here? says:

    You are a joke Alden McLaughlin. An absolute joke. Stop wasting our time and money with unnecessary cruise piers and an unnecessary defense force.

    FIX PUBLIC SCHOOLS! That should be your FIRST priority!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Fix The Dump! It causes cancers, birth defects, learning disabilities and all sort of neurological ailments. I bet if one to test 50 random Caymanians for toxic chemicals, the numbers would be off the charts!

  13. Major Tom says:

    What a joke, should have saved this one for April next year. Are they planning to rebuild Fort George too? Who’s got the contract for new cannons? Maybe there’s contracts for CIG’s construction buddies building baracks, parade square and maybe a new practice range in GT? Oh I’m forgetting something, has Monaco offered to train regiment of our very own Action Man wannabes?

  14. Anonymous says:

    This could be a great idea. Instead of incarcerating convicted criminal in Northward Prison, they could sign up and do full-time National Service and learn a sense of civic duty as opposed to learning how to be better criminals!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. Teach the criminals proper care of weapons. The news pictures of the seized guns show stuff in a pretty sorry state.

  15. Anonymous says:

    There are ulterior motives at work here. Does anyone remember immediately after Ivan the British navy were sitting in George Town harbour and our government refused to let them land to help us? I think we need a referendum on this….

    • Anonymous says:

      You clearly were not in the Cayman Islands after Ivan. CI Government refusing British Navy help is an absolute lie.

      The British Navy team were exhausted after helping Grenada. Since you weren’t here, you would not recall that Grenada was levelled having been hit by Ivan before us. By the time they offloaded their aid there and sailed to Cayman a few days later, all they had left were chlorine tablets and tetnus shots maybe some tarps.

      Cayman residents recall that after Ivan, the British Navy was next to useless.

      Other Caribbean countries provided far more direct aid and assistance after Ivan including Bermuda with their regiment. Even the Haitian Red Cross sent clothes and other aid packages. Imagine Cayman getting help from Haiti!

      After Paloma the UK performed a lot better having known their post Ivan support was a shambles, but don’t be on here trying to tell people nonsense about Cayman refusing help.

      No good help was turned down.

      • Anonymous says:

        all wrong

        • Anonymous says:

          Please Prove that 4:01pm is wrong. I worked for Government during Ivan and I know those are all facts.

          The UK navy burned up our fuel from DVS by driving around in a few of the unflooded rental Jeep wranglers.

          They didn’t cut a single tree limb. They were exhausted. Everything they said above is the truth- like it or not.

        • Anonymous says:

          All facts friend. No time for fake news

      • Anonymous says:

        They would not allow the reporters in as they wanted to hide the devastation from the rest of the world. the UK did not want to help us either

        • Anonymous says:

          I said no good help was turned down. Now let’s be honest and objective.

          When our country is blown to bits and we are trying to get non essential people off island and protect our visitors, elderly, sick and young, what help are international journalists? I’m all for free press etc, but they clearly aren’t here to help and I am focused on this lie that Cayman’s Government turned down help after Ivan.

          We got aid from all over the region. Other countries sent planes to take out their nationals- Jamaica, Colombia, Honduras etc! That’s help

  16. Anonymous says:

    Imagine what it would be like to live a life with false worries and fears like these 3… Don’t need military nor a gtport

  17. Al Catraz says:

    “He spoke about the regiment being closely linked to the Corps of Royal Engineers and its main purpose was humanitarian.”

    Which is why they will be armed with humanitarian rifles which fire humanitarian rounds at, um, you know, select humans. That’s what makes it humanitarian – it’s all in the humans that the rifles are pointed at, because that comes up a lot in engineering.

    • Anonymous says:

      The select humans are called looters who will appear right after the next big Ivan hits us.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Looks like some people didn’t read the article. This is a regiment used to provide humanitarian efforts, not fight against some random enemy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Then why not form a volunteer urban search and rescue team that can be utilised at home and abroad to gain vital experience. Many countries have dedicated response teams made up of professional rescuers and trained volunteers. Why does it need to be military based, civilian services and volunteers make up the huge bulk of disaster relief organisations with the military deployed as a logistics arm to aid immediate relief. We will have the Royal Navy relief vessel and sailors, and a contingent of Royal Marines, plus a third helicopter to assist with logistics.
      50 well trained and experienced civilian urban SAR operatives will be far more use than a bunch of wannabe toy soldiers.
      But then again, why didn’t Cayman form a volunteer lifeboat service? Simple, no one makes money from it.
      Caymankind at work.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because resiliency is built on systems. Your idea can work- but when those volunteers’ employers demand they come to work or if there is sensitive infrastructure that needs to be dealt with in a secured area post storm, the civilians won’t always be able to fulfill the need.

        Having a true core of volunteer reservists means we have access to a well trained team for national crises.

        Bermuda and Montserrat are doing it and doing it well. We can too

        • Anonymous says:

          The CIG has a policy of learning nothing from Bermuda be it new airport construction, bus transportation, vehicle policy or anything else. Reason is that we Caymanians are a brilliant people with a unique culture. LOL.

  19. #Jokers says:

    😂 sorry I can’t stop laughing at the picture to even read the article.

  20. Anonymous says:

    “The aim is yo (to) improve security and disaster management here and in the region”

    Some of y’all need to either learn how to read or read between the lines altogether! I wonder how many CAYMANIANS will volunteer…..

  21. Anonymous says:

    def NOT required…just like the port..

  22. Anonymous says:

    This whole idea will never work because the vast majority of Caymanians do not volunteer unless there’s money on the end of it, hence the overwhelmingly expat volunteer and fundraising force on these islands. Secondly, if Ivan was anything to go by, Caymanian reservists in a national emergency will abandon their posts and leave the real work to those who live by their oath to serve all the people all the time.
    If Cayman wants to start a national volunteer force, perhaps they should start with the Fire Dept that does more than clear up car wrecks.
    Perhaps an urban SAR team would be more appropriate?
    Remember, Bermuda has a long history of military garrisons and naval dock yards, Cayman does not and would struggle to man a competent force with such a small and unmotivated population.

    • Anonymous says:

      Expats volunteer to tick the box when they apply for PR. Once they get PR that is another story.

      • Anonymous says:

        Can you blame them? They see within a year which way the wind blows. Very few locals involved in any community effort and they take on that same culture. Lead by example, don’t blame those for picking up on how our community operates.

        • Anonymous says:

          I would appreciate if you did throw everyone under the bus here. Having received status recently, myself and my wife are actively involved and have been well after we received PR, that includes lots of our friends are as well.

          This is something I would like to see every single person involved with but that will never happen. Therefore I would actually like to see it all work permit holders to donate x hours a year to charity and the whole process coordinated by government. Then we could do away with the whole process of collecting evidence that you have been involved and a lot of people not really doing much to get the minimum. If you don’t want to be considered for PR and Status, you would not need to be involved at all in the process.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Cayman soon will be the laughingstock of the Caribbean with a 3 person military and a helicopter to protect our toxic dump and gridlocked cars.

    • Anonymous says:

      I read these comments and can only commend the Government for pushing forward with the mental health facility. Frightening comments and a real concern.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hopefully it’s fake news and they can concentrate on essential needs like the mental health facility, our landfill situation and basic infrastructure.

    • Anonymous says:


  24. Anonymous says:

    More fake news to distract us from the referendum.

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