Brigadier John Mark Lancaster, The Right Honourable The Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton PC will be in Cayman from March 31 to April 4 for his first visit as Honorary Colonel of the Cayman Islands Regiment. The role of Honorary Colonel is primarily a ceremonial one, and many Regiments have appointed one.
It was during his visit here in 2019, as then Minister for the Armed Forces, that the long discussed plans for a Cayman Regiment first started to take shape. Since then the Regiment, a self-standing reserve force focussed on disaster preparedness and response, fully independent and separate from the UK Armed Forces.
Disaster preparedness and response has been key to the work of the Regiment. It has rescued people from flooded homes after tropical storms, distributed food aid to families in need whilst in COVID quarantine and cleared debris after storms. Cayman is better placed to respond to natural disasters thanks to the dedication of this group of, mainly Caymanians, who in return are learning many valuable, transferrable skills.
“I am very proud of how far our Regiment has come since its establishment during a global pandemic,” says Premier, Wayne Panton. “The men and women of the Regiment are playing an important role helping the people of these Islands. I welcome Lord Lancaster’s appointment and look forward to explaining to him how I see the Regiment supporting us both during and after the natural disasters that we face in Cayman.”
The Regiment currently consists of 91 people, 9 of whom attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Ultimately the aim is for the Regiment to have 175 reservists.
Lord Lancaster will see the Regiment in action whilst here, and have meetings with both the Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, under whose Ministry the Regiment sits. Cayman’s leaders will decide on how the Regiment evolves overtime but the UK is prepared to offer technical support.
“I am grateful to Lord Lancaster for assuming the position of Honorary Colonel of our Regiment. His experience as former Minister for the Armed Forces and a member of the UK Army Reserve will no doubt prove invaluable to the men and women of the Regiment,” says Governor, Martyn Roper. “Having this direct link to the UK Army Reserve and the UK’s Ministry Of Defence is an asset to Cayman as we continue to build up the Regiment. Lord Lancaster has already demonstrated his commitment to the Regiment when he attended the Passing Out Parade at Sandhurst for some of our Junior Officers”.
Minister Bush said: “I look forward to meeting with Lord Lancaster as we work to develop the Cayman Islands Regiment, to ensure the safety of our people and building capacity for the Cayman Islands. The development of the Regiment is important for Caymanians as this provides another profession for our young people as a career, fosters national patriotism and further supports our emergency services and national ceremonies. This is an exciting time for us and we welcome such opportunities for Caymanians that will also help us improve resiliency and service delivery across our islands.”