Governor reflects on first year in post

Elisabeth and Martyn Roper, left, with Prince Charles and Camilla at a reception at Pedro St. James during the royal visit in March. Roper said hosting the royal couple was among the highlights of his first year as governor. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Reflecting on his first year as the Cayman Islands governor, Martyn Roper issued a statement Monday outlining what he considered some of the highlights of the past 12 months.

Those included hosting Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at Government House during the royal couple’s trip to Cayman in March, and visiting New York in January to support the financial services industry.

He also recalled visits to the Cayman Islands by Overseas Territories Minister Lord Ahmad and Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster. He said those ministerial visits had “cemented the strong and enduring links between the UK and the Cayman Islands”.

Commenting on security issues, the governor said he and government ministers and the premier had seconded a UK Border Force official to Customs and Border Control, adding that they have been “actively supporting the transition of border security to an intelligence-led approach”. He said that there are also plans to bring in UK experts to advise on the use of dogs at the border and within the RCIPS.

“On prisons, we worked on the establishment of the new Independent Monitoring Board for Cayman’s prison and recently funded a review of mental health services in the prison system,” he said in the statement.

As for disaster management, he referred to the UK partially funding the new RCIPS helicopter, which arrived in March and was deployed to the Bahamas in September to help with hurricane relief efforts there. He added, “Together with Hazard Management Cayman Islands, we negotiated Cayman’s membership of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, introduced a new casualty management tracking system and are now looking to fund improvements to our early warning systems.”

Governor Roper, left, and Premier Alden McLaughlin, check out the new RCIPS helicopter which arrived on island in March this year.

The governor highlighted his office’s efforts, with other international partners, to support plans to establish a Cayman office in Hong Kong, beginning negotiations on a law enforcement MOU with Jamaica, and discussing bilateral issues with Cuba.

“Most recently, we started the process for establishing a Cayman Defence Regiment for the Cayman Islands, which has received a positive welcome and will support our disaster preparedness and security,” he said, adding that over the last year, he had also reinvigorated the monthly National Security Council “to ensure a strong focus on law and order”.

He also recalled some of the lighter moments he and his wife, Elisabeth, had spent in the past 12 months since they arrived on island on 29 Oct. 2018.

“I’ve enjoyed a truly CaymanKind welcome everywhere and been fed many wonderful local dishes at regular intervals! I’ve been kidnapped as part of Pirates Week, learnt to play the steel pan, come face to face with Peter the Blue Iguana and learnt the intricacies of plaiting thatch,” he said.

The governor, who has engaged social media over the past 12 months to share his work and messages, invited the public to check out his Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.