British Navy officers rate Cayman's marine unit

With a modern marine patrol fleet and a new multimillion dollar base of operations in Newlands, the Cayman Islands Joint Marine Unit is well prepared for law enforcement challenges in the Caribbean region, Royal Navy reviewers who visited Grand Cayman this month found.  

However, more work is needed in the area of regional cooperation between Cayman and its neighbors in the western and central Caribbean to provide real-time intelligence about the movement of drugs, guns and illegal migrants through the area.  

“We’ve got to teach these guys to manage with what they’ve got,” said Royal Navy Lt. Commander Howard Clark. “How do police marine units work with other marine agencies and the guys on the land in terms of information sharing between different countries? 

“You can’t just stick [marine patrols] out there and hope to come up with something.”  

Lt. Cmdr. Clark has been in the Cayman Islands for nearly a month with two training officers, Warrant Officer II Martin Power of the Royal Marines and Chief Petty Officer Nick Dewing of the Royal Navy, working on an international maritime training initiative for British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.  

The group was joined by Lt. Col. Patrick Brown of the Royal Navy this past week.  

Ten police officers of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and another few dozen police officers from other territories have attended various training sessions, including small craft navigation and handling techniques, over the past four weeks.  

Other courses include tactical training for sea rescues and intercepts involving migrants and illegal traffickers, as well as routine maintenance of watercraft and marine unit equipment.  

The training course is funded entirely by the United Kingdom government. 

Once completed, the 10 RCIPS officers who receive the additional marine training will be used to retrain other officers within the Joint Marine Unit. If the funding is there for it, Lt. Col Brown said he would like to continue offering the training in Cayman periodically.  

Warrant Officer II Martin ‘Wolfie’ Power has been in Cayman helping train marine unit police officers for the past month. Mr. Power is part of a Royal Navy-Marines training force doing extended instruction for a number of Caribbean marine patrol forces. – Photo: Brent Fuller