The UK military team arriving on island next week will include medical planners, logistics experts and security advisors, Governor Martyn Roper said Tuesday.
Roper had revealed Monday that the 12-person team would be arriving on next week’s British Airways flight.
Providing further details on Tuesday, Hazard Management Cayman Islands said the team would be tasked with supporting the coordination of essential medical supplies and personnel, and would liaise with UK naval boats, including a hospital ship, operating in the region.
In a statement at Tuesday’s COVID-19 press briefing, the governor said, “Our law and order situation is stable and I have every confidence in our capacity and capability to manage risks going forward. But this situation is unprecedented and all my experience of crises underlines the importance of being prepared for any eventuality.”
Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne, also speaking at Tuesday’s briefing, said the team would provide support and contingency planning for hurricane season and also for any law and order and capacity concerns stemming from the COVID-19 crisis.
He said Cayman operated under a “risk matrix” with four levels – green, amber, red and black.
Currently, the situation is classified as ‘amber’, which means that crime and police are stable.
He said a ‘red’ or ‘black’ classification would mean the situation was getting out of control. That could be either through a reduction in police capacity or an escalation in law and order concerns.
While he said he does not expect that to happen, he added, “we need to plan for that as risk mitigation”.
The governor said the team arriving from the UK would be a small military and civilian contingent that could provide support on logistics and “sensible scenario planning”. This will include risk management of security concerns around the handling of curfews, the prisons, and economic and social factors.
“It will be an extremely valuable resource to have just now in support of our security needs, COVID-19 risk, and hurricane preparedness, including coordinating other UK assets in the region,” the governor said.
“The team also comes with medical and security planners and logisticians who will be valuable to help ensure that Cayman’s stock of essential medical supplies remains robust. It is a strong signal of UK political support.”
Hazard Management said in a statement that the UK delegation would work with the unit on hurricane preparedness and provide advice to Cayman’s newly established regiment.
A similar deployment of UK military personnel was made to the Turks and Caicos Islands two weeks ago.
The UK has two naval ships, which include helicopters, in the region – HMS Medway and RFA Argus – which are tasked with supporting the British Overseas Territories through hurricane season. Last year, RFA Mounts Bay undertook a hurricane-crisis exercise, landing equipment and personnel on Governors Beach.
The RFA Argus, currently deployed in the region, has an on-board hospital.
- Additional reporting by Compass reporter Kayla Young