Authorities took part in a detailed emergency preparedness exercise at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on Cayman Brac last week. The mock scenario involved a terrorist situation and featured a simulated hijacking with fatalities and over a dozen people taken as hostages.
Cayman Islands Airports Authority personnel took part in the exercise along with security staff, Fire Service and Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers. Individuals from Customs and Immigration, Cayman Airways ground staff, the Cayman Brac Red Cross and National Cadet Corps were also involved.
Andrew McLaughlin, CIAA’s head of safety, helmed the exercise. Shane Bothwell, CIAA’s head of security, supervised the airport’s security officers, and CIAA officers observed the exercise in real time via closed circuit television.
The exercise was conducted after sunset and the airport had officially closed for the day.
“We conduct preparedness exercises regularly both on Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman and we do this to hone our skills and abilities and improve our procedures,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “And we do this with as little inconvenience to actual daily users of our airports as possible. We also debrief thoroughly after each exercise to see where our gaps are, and in that case, what we should be doing better.”
Brac CIAA Security Officers Jan Svendsen and Lorenzo Fredricks played the part of victims and hostages along with Customs Officer Dustin Bodden. The role of the hostage-takers fell to Cadet Corps’ Ricardo Henry and Wilson Bennett. Mr. Bennett played the role of the “shooter” in the exercise.
Red Cross volunteers Anita Judister, Venice Campbell, Patricia Brown, Amaya Tahal, Hermine Jackson, Cadets Aliyah Williams, John Gayle, Naomi Carter and Chirston Ferguson took part, as did teachers Dee Blackman and Lori-Ann Bingham, and observers including Joshua Burke of Brac Air Traffic Control.Brac CIAA Security Officers Della Dilbert and Violet Walton played the role of make-up artists, effectively painting the gore and affixing the fake wounds on the victims.