December 16, 2019

The Editor speaks: Do we really need a military unit here?

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Colin Wilson

I haven’t, as yet, got my teeth chopping at the bit, but I can’t get my mind set on the need here in the Cayman islands for our very first military unit.

The scheme has the support of our premier, Alden McLaughlin and by Britain’s Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office.

Tory defence minister Mark Lancaster visited here last Friday to announce the launch of the “Cayman Regiment.”

It will be comprised of local reservists and may receive training or equipment from the British military.

Lancaster said: “The UK enjoys a close and historic bond with the Cayman Islands and through helping to establish the Islands’ first reserve unit we are strengthening this relationship even further.”

He said: “We are committed to the safety and security of the Overseas Territories.

“Having recently worked with regional partners on the response to Hurricane Dorian we have demonstrated both the depth of that commitment and value we place on our partnerships in the Caribbean.”

Lancaster’s pledge of more military support for the Caribbean follows his visit to the region last September, when he signed an agreement with Belize to keep the British army base there open for another 14 years.

So, if Belize has a British army base, does that mean, in due time, we will have one?

Is this the thin edge of the wedge prising open our acceptance to have a full blown military unit here?

The government press release said, “A team of UK military and civilian experts from the MOD and FCO will shortly deploy to begin the assessments needed to take the project forward. Having a specially trained defence force in the region will provide a boost to security and disaster management capability both in Cayman and the wider Caribbean.”

Note the wording a boost to security “capability both in Cayman and the wider Caribbean.”

As we do have a Cayman Island Junior Cadet Corps established, that “has gone from strength to strength since its establishment in 2001”, it will “offer an avenue for cadets on graduation, should they choose to develop their skills further.”.

The Cadet Force also assist with low-level activities during national emergencies such as hurricanes.

I have asked the question will the members of this military unit be armed? There was no definitive answer to that, except they will receive all the necessary training a military unit needs.

Encyclopedia Brittanica says a military unit is “A division [that] contains all the arms and services needed for the independent conduct of military operations.

As the team that will be coming here from the UK will contain military experts and will is being set up to provide “defence” I think we all know the answer to that.

Why does that make me nervous?

When tired of all excitement,
And glam’rous worldly care,
How sweet thy shores to reach,
And find a welcome there,
And when comes on the season,
Of peace, good will to man,
‘Tis then I love thee best of all,
Beloved Isle, Cayman!

By Leila Ross-Shier, June, 1930 – “Beloved Isle Cayman”

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