Tuesday 24 November, 2020

Premier: "These are still exceptionally challenging times"

"These are still exceptionally challenging times," said Premier, hon. Alden McLaughlin on Monday as he made remarks in the Legislative Assembly on behalf of The Defence Bill 2020, that provides for the statutory foundation for the Cayman Islands Regiment.

In justifying the need for the voluntary reserve service, Premier McLaughlin reminded the House that a few months ago the RICPS and other uniformed services were stretched beyond measure in the initial fight to beat back COVID-19 from taking hold in the country.

“What a difference a fully trained Regiment would have been to the men and women of our uniformed service during those days,” he emphasized.

Premier McLaughlin, said that the Regiment would provide manpower in the event of national disaster as well as provide assistance to the police service and coast guard.

The Cayman Islands Regiment is another important part of the country’s national resiliency infrastructure. 

The Bill provides for the governance and management of the newly established Regiment, which is a reserve force whose duties include the defence of these Islands, 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 participating during ceremonial occasions.

According to the Bill, the Motto of the Regiment, in English, is “Prepared in Adversity” and members of the Regiment will receive or are receiving, in some cases, the necessary training to stand ready to assist during any crisis or the RCIPS or Coast Guard as necessary.

While the country may be in a good place, where control of the virus is concerned, it is still far from out of the woods, “…we may well need, God forbid, the services of these men and women who have enlisted in the Cayman Islands Regiment”.

Mr. McLaughlin said these are still exceptionally challenging times, not only with the pandemic, but by virtue of the six months out of every year, that the country faces storm systems.

“We now have 25 named storm systems and it is expected that by the end of this week we will have another one and the season is not yet over,” the Premier reminded the LA.

“This trend is going to continue to get worse before it gets better as the planet continues to heat up. The men and women who will make up the regiment will play an extremely important role in the security of these Islands in the years and decades to come.”

“For generations, these Islands, its people and businesses have been steadily advancing and modernising its framework of national resilience. We have achieved this through an evolving catalogue of policies, structures, resources, and strategic partnerships with the private sector, civil society, and with the help of other governments, including the UK. Mr Speaker, collectively we have made great strides in our efforts to increase the likelihood that this country can adequately mitigate, manage, prepare for and recover from catastrophic and disastrous events,” he said.

From the earliest times, according to Mr McLaughlin, Cayman has taken purposeful and strategic steps to build local capacity and capability to prepare for and manage risks that may threaten public safety, security, social wellbeing, and economic prosperity.

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