(CMR) Brigadier The Right Honourable The Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton PC will be in Cayman from 31 March to 4 April for his first visit as Honorary Colonel of the Cayman Islands Regiment.
The role of Honorary Colonel is primarily a ceremonial one, and many Regiments have appointed one.
During his visit here in 2019, as then Minister for the Armed Forces, the long-discussed plans for a Cayman Regiment first started to take shape.
Since then, the Regiment, a self-standing reserve force focused on disaster preparedness and response, fully independent and separate from the UK Armed Forces, has gone from strength to strength and has proved its value to Cayman and the people of these islands.
Disaster preparedness and response is key to the work of the Regiment. They have rescued people from flooded homes after tropical storms, distributed food aid to families in need while in Covid quarantine, cleared debris after storms, and so much more. Cayman is better placed to respond to natural disasters due to the dedication of this group of, mainly Caymanians, who, in return, are learning many valuable, transferrable skills.
The Regiment currently consists of 91 people, 9 of whom attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Ultimately the aim is for the Regiment to have 175 reservists.
Lord Lancaster will see the Regiment in action whilst here and have meetings with both the Hon Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, under whose Ministry the Regiment sits. Cayman’s leaders will decide on how the Regiment evolves over time but the UK will always stand ready to offer technical support.
Governor Martyn Roper said “I am grateful to Lord Lancaster for assuming the position of Honorary Colonel of our Regiment. His experience as former Minister for the Armed Forces and a member of the UK Army Reserve will no doubt prove invaluable to the men and women of the Regiment.”
“Having this direct link to the UK Army Reserve and the UK's Ministry Of Defence is an asset to Cayman as we continue to build up the Regiment. Lord Lancaster has already demonstrated his commitment to the Regiment when he attended the Passing Out Parade at Sandhurst for some of our Junior Officers,” he added.
Premier Wayne Panton said, “I am very proud of how far our Regiment has come since its establishment during a global pandemic. The men and women of the Regiment are playing an important role helping the people of these Islands. I welcome Lord Lancaster's appointment and look forward to explaining to him how I see the Regiment supporting us both during and after the natural disasters that we face in Cayman.”
Minister Bush said he was looking forward to meeting with Lord Lancaster as the government works to develop the Cayman Islands Regiment to ensure the safety of the people and build capacity for the Cayman Islands.
“The development of the Regiment is important for Caymanians as this provides another profession for our young people as a career, fosters national patriotism, and further supports our emergency services and national ceremonies. This is an exciting time for us and we welcome such opportunities for Caymanians that will also help us improve resiliency and service delivery across our islands,” he said.