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Published 31st August 2020, 9:50am

Your Excellency, other honoured guests, ladies and

gentlemen, I think it is rather odd for me to be making a speech with the

audience behind me and especially men and women of the Cayman Islands Regiment.

Thank you for joining me in recognizing and welcoming the

first official members of the Cayman Islands Regiment.

I am proud – indeed we should all be proud – of these 51

women and men who comprise the very first Cayman Islands Regiment.

I have thought about this moment for almost sixteen years

now. It was in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan that members of the Bermuda

Regiment came to help us recover after Ivan had done its worst. They were

disciplined and hardworking and provided great assistance to our people in a

difficult time. They made a most lasting impression on all of us. And

so when I first became a Minister in 2005, along with the then-Leader of

Government Business Hon. Kurt Tibbetts, OBE, we approached the United Kingdom Government

regarding starting our very own regiment. 

But at that time the UK Government was not willing to

accommodate the request. But fast forward 15 years and on a visit here

late last year by the then-UK Minister for the Armed services Brigadier Mark

Lancaster the idea of the Regiment was discussed again. I am, and the

country should be, most grateful for His Excellency Martyn Roper for his – not

just support – but his enthusiasm and his drive in persuading the UK Government

on that occasion to support the formation of a Regiment and as the saying goes,

the rest is history.

Well, perhaps not quite history yet for today is the

beginning and indeed marks the culmination of many months of hard work and

training to get us here. 

Your Excellency I thank you and your office along with the

Government of the United Kingdom for recognising the benefit to us in Cayman

and those beyond our shores of our very own Cayman Islands Regiment. We

announced only 10 months ago that we would be forming this Regiment and despite

the impact of COVID-19 we are here today; an incredible achievement indeed.

As I look at this group of fine men and women I see promise

of a great future. Not only your individual futures as you carry out your duty

to serve our Islands in this great new institution, but I also see the promise

of a great future for our Regiment. Undoubtedly every one of you can hardly

believe you made it through those rigors of training; whether here at home

under the watchful eyes of Major Alex MacDougall and his team or in Bermuda or

at Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. 

As you go forward remember what you have gained from that

training and use it for the benefit of our Islands and our Regiment. The future

success and growth of the Cayman Islands Regiment rests largely in your hands;

you as its first members. It will be in what you do and how you deport yourself

that will help define the Regiment in the eyes and hearts of Caymanians and

give it whatever reputation it earns. This is an awesome and important

responsibility. Regardless of your rank each one of you has a part to play

in the success of this regiment. 

Hold fast to your motto “In Arduis Paratus - Prepared in

Adversity”.  Always be prepared to do your duty and to aid your fellow

Caymanians and residents when disaster strikes - whether hurricanes or a virus.

 

Undoubtedly the Cayman Regiment will, over time, have a

positive impact and play an important role in youth development and leadership

in our Islands as future young Caymanians and residents join up and follow your

footsteps under the leadership of Leftenant Theo Kelly, Leftenant Gabe Rabess, Leftenant

Shanice Kelly, Leftenant Jonassi Swaby and Leftenant Halston Farley.

I commend Commanding

Officer Leftenant Colonel Simon Watson, Operations

Adviser Leftenant Colonel Simon Spiers, Major Andre

Mon Desir and the Regimental Sgt. Major David Shelton for their leadership and all

of their hard work in helping us realise this dream.

Members of the Cayman Islands Regiment - I salute you and

wish for each of you a great future.  May God Bless the Cayman Islands

Regiment and may He continue to bless these beloved Isles Cayman.

Thank you.

Published 31st August 2020, 9:50am