Governor Martyn Roper has made a final push for more Caymanians to sign up for the new Cayman Islands Regiment.

Roper said he is pleased with the response so far from the public to join the regiment. On  Friday, he urged more Caymanians to sign-up.

The deadline to apply to be a reservist with the regiment is Sunday night. An initial 50 posts are up for grabs in the ongoing recruitment phase.

As of Friday, more than 300 applications were being processed, according to the Governor’s Office.

Roper, speaking with the Cayman Compass before he embarked on a flyover mission with the RFA Tailored Air Group (TAG) on its Wildcat helicopter on Friday, reiterated that he and Premier Alden McLaughlin wanted the regiment to be a predominately Caymanian unit.

“We want a lot of Caymanians to apply and that’s what happened. We do believe that we’ve had a lot of Caymanians who have applied and will be able to make those appointments. Once they’ve done that, they have to do the tests and the exercise, but I do believe this will be a predominantly Caymanian regiment and I think that is very good for our islands,” Roper said.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, plans for the regiment were temporarily put on hold as Cayman worked through managing the spread of the virus. The creation of the regiment was announced last October.

Last month, the five junior officers who were appointed to the regiment departed for the UK for nine weeks of training at Sandhurst Military Academy.

“It’s just exciting to be building something very new and something which will give us increased resilience in dealing with disasters and I think that’s really welcomed,” Roper said.

The regiment, as well as the Cayman Islands Coast Guard and Customs and Border Control agency, were created under the McLaughlin-led administration as part of a strategy to enhance Cayman’s security.

“There is still time to apply. So please, please, do apply,” Roper said as he made a final call for applications.

UK security team contributed

The regiment, Roper had previously said, will be instrumental in providing relief assistance during hurricane season and disasters.

Currently, a 12-member military team is in Cayman providing support for the establishment of the regiment and “they’ve been working so quietly behind the scenes on a number of different issues, including supporting us on medical supplies, bringing that sort of army strategic planning skills to the fore,” the governor added.

He said the team has also helped Cayman on hurricane preparedness.

“They’ve been working very closely with RFA Argus planning the hurricane exercise that we did on Colliers Beach and they’ve also been looking at our systems for hurricane preparedness,” he said.

Cayman, he said, has a lot of experience when it comes to hurricane seasons.

“We have an excellent approach every year to getting ourselves ready for hurricane. But it’s useful to have people come in to ask us questions and challenge us and you can always find ways of doing things differently or better. I think it’s been really helpful to have them here,” he added.

The UK has also sent a similar team to the Turks and Caicos islands.

This, he said, shows the UK’s commitment to support the overseas territories and the Cayman Islands, despite what been a difficult time in the UK handling the COVID crisis.

“I think they performed a really valuable role for us,” he said.

A date is yet to be announced for the UK team’s departure.

For more on the regiment recruitment drive, visit https://www.exploregov.ky/ciregiment.

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