More than 50 people have applied to fill posts in the new Cayman Regiment since its recruitment drive got under way on Friday.

The Governor’s Office, replying to queries from the Cayman Compass on Monday, said there was “a good response over the weekend” to the recruitment efforts, which aim to fill 50 positions in the regiment.

“The team is currently going through the applications, they have to check eligibility,” the brief statement said.

The recruitment campaign is aimed at finding 50 people to create the base troops for the regiment.

“Advancing the Cayman Regiment during a global pandemic is a significant achievement. I would like to thank the Commander of the Regiment, UK SAT team and my own staff for delivering this at great pace under much pressure,” Governor Martyn Roper said in a statement Friday as he announced the start of the recruitment.

At the start of the COVID-19 crisis in Cayman, the push to create the regiment was paused as the government focussed on testing and suppressing coronavirus cases.

However, last month the effort to build the local regiment restarted, and its first junior officers left for the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK where they have begun two months of training.

Roper said moving ahead with the regiment is opportune as the 2020 hurricane season has started.

“The premier and I are committed to ensuring that Cayman is ready for the challenge and the formation of the regiment is an important part of this. The extensive external assistance provided to Anguilla, the BVI [British Virgin Islands] and TCI [Turks and Caicos Islands] after the 2017 hurricanes and last year to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian, demonstrate the importance of ensuring that UK forces and Overseas Territories responders are properly prepared,” he said.

This, he added, is especially important this year as Cayman has to adapt due to COVID-19.

British Overseas Territories citizens as well as British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens who have permanent residency in Cayman are all eligible to apply for the regiment.

Applicants must be between 18 and 50 years old and will be required to pass written and fitness tests, and then undergo an interview.

Experience is not required but previous military service, such as in the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps, is welcomed, the statement said.

Full training will be provided, and successful candidates will be paid a per diem allowance when they attend.

Crews of Navy ships to take part in exercise

Meanwhile, UK naval ship HMS Medway and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship (RFA) Argus will be off the shores of Grand Cayman this week to begin their humanitarian-aid and disaster-relief exercises.

“All this work underlines the UK’s support and commitment to the British Overseas Territories,” Roper said in the statement.

Crews from both ships will be exercising their plans to support Cayman should a hurricane or similar natural disaster occur.

According to the statement, this will include bringing troops and equipment ashore to test logistics and then checking to ensure they have appropriate communications and can carry out medical evacuations.

“The exercise this year will also ensure that appropriate measures are in place to avoid contact between the ships company and those onshore. Both ships are COVID19 free and the crews have been at sea and isolated for an extended period of time,” the statement said.

However, the statement added that, “out of an abundance of caution and also to prevent possible infection being transmitted to the ships, there will be no close contact with the population on shore”.

RFA Argus arrived in Cayman territorial waters on Saturday and HMS Medway was en route to Cayman Monday morning.

“The Royal Navy Merlin and Wildcat helicopters on board RFA Argus will be providing search and rescue cover, carrying out counter-narcotics and border protection patrols and will be available to attend critical incidents as requested whilst the RCIPS helicopters are being serviced in the USA,” the statement added.

The Security Assistance Team, which arrived from the UK last month, has been supporting the arrangements, including coordination of the exercises, obtaining the agreement for helicopter cover, and support for the training and kit required for the 50 new reservists.

“I’m delighted that, even in the midst of the current crisis, we are continuing to move forward with the recruitment programme. With weather forecasters predicting a busy hurricane season this year, having the first reservists available to the Cayman Islands by the end of August is a welcome addition to our resilience,” Roper said in the statement.

For more information and the application and medical forms, visit www.gov.ky/ciregiment.

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