Joint UK/Cayman hurricane exercise

Governor Martyn Roper attends a 'semi-live crisis exercise' on Thursday.

Simulating a response to a major hurricane strike on Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, teams from the Governor’s Office, Hazard Management Cayman Islands, the Royal Cayman Islnds Police Service, 911 and the Government Communications Service took part this week in a joint training exercise with counterparts from the UK and the British High Commission in Kingston.

According to a statement from the Governor’s Office, the exercise was designed to test new procedures and equipment introduced after the 2017 hurricanes that affected the Eastern Caribbean. This included a new computer system that allows emergency services in Cayman to share and coordinate data on missing and affected persons with the UK authorities through the FCO’s Crisis Centre in London.

New satellite communications systems that were introduced to the Governor’s Office at the end of last year to provide options for speaking to government agencies in the UK, including the British military, were also used during the simulation. Media training for key officers was also delivered by specialist trainers from the UK.

In London, the FCO’s Crisis Centre was activated for the exercise with more than 60 personnel involved in the simulation.

Governor Martyn Roper, who played a full role in the exercise, said in a statement, “It is vital that we develop a close working relationship with the FCO’s Crisis Team and regional Posts to ensure that should a disaster strike the Cayman Islands, we can effectively coordinate the logistical, policy, security and military support that can be provided to assist us.”

He added that it was also important that Cayman can “communicate effectively with foreign governments through the Foreign Office who may have their own nationals caught up in any crisis and may also be able to provide support”.

“We learnt a number of lessons from the storms in 2017 and I am pleased to see that some of the procedures being trialled in Cayman this week will result in an improved response,” he said.

The governor also announced that the British Navy’s RFA Mounts Bay ship will return to the Cayman Islands at the end of this month “which will be a further chance to practice our joint response to a potential disaster with the UK armed forces”.

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