The final six Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers who assisted with security efforts in the British Virgin Islands post Hurricane Irma are set to come home next week.
The RCIPS initially sent 16 officers in September, and then replaced them with another cohort in October, and another later that month.
Among other duties, the officers helped round up dozens of prisoners that had escaped from the BVI prison, which was severely damaged from Irma.
RCIPS Inspector Loxley Solomon and five other officers were sent with one of the earlier contingents of officers, and volunteered to remain in the BVI for two tours of duty – remaining there through the holidays.
“For you, especially at a time when you would normally be gathering about the holiday tables filled with goodies, we particularly appreciate your sacrifice,” Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Commissioner Michael Matthew told the Cayman officers at a luncheon on Wednesday. “Because you were here, many of our officers could attend to their own lives or take a break from the scenery off island.”
Additionally, the Cayman officers received tactical training while they were there from Bermudian police officers that were also in the BVI.
Mr. Solomon said he was happy to be able to help, knowing what it is like for people to rebuild their lives after a natural disaster.
“When Hurricane Ivan hit Grand Cayman, I was on duty at the main police station in George Town with my family, including a young child, as the station took a direct hit,” he said. “I will never forget the emotional and physical toll it took on me and my family. It is difficult to expect officers, with the demands of this type of profession, to function with any efficiency without a break. I was happy to provide that needed break.”
RCIPS Constable Brian Marshall said he made good friends in the BVI, and was happy to return there for a second tour of duty.
“I made some very good friends among the officers of the force here and was happy for the opportunity to return. I appreciate the officers’ and public’s efforts to remain positive despite the destruction,” he said.