16 Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers remain in the British Virgin Islands to help with the country’s recovery efforts following this season’s devastating hurricanes.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused billions of dollars of damage in the region and while some of our officers remain in service there, others who have returned say there are plenty of lessons that can be learned and applied here. Cayman 27’s Philipp Richter spoke with them, he has this report.
48 officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service have been tasked with assisting in the British Virgin Islands as the country rebuilds.
“Things went bad, they had a hurricane and then they allegedly had looting and a crime spree, but for them to suddenly see police, being probably the first outside police service to turn up and help them, gave them that sort of positivity,” said Police Constable, Nas Ramzan.
Police constable Nas Ramzan was in the first batch of 16 officers deployed to the B.V.I.
“Sort of helping people out, sort of moving a bit of rubbish from outside the house to the side of the house, we helped out with a local church that was slightly devastated by the hurricane with all the debris in front, so we helped them move that to the side,” said Mr. Ramzan.
3 weeks later, Police Inspector Kevin Ashworth was deployed on the 2nd of October.
“I personally didn’t see one building or one vehicle or one road that wasn’t damaged catastrophically and that of course brings its own problems,” said Police Inspector, Kevin Ashworth.
He says he learnt an important lesson that can help first responders during a catastrophe
“And the key thing is to remain flexible after a disaster, make sure that you have a command structure in place that makes strong decisions, good decisions based on the time and be flexible with what your faced with,” said Mr. Ashworth.
Hurricane season isn’t over yet so officer Ramzan still encourages the public to stay vigilant.
“Never turn your back from it, because it might have been a while and you might think, oh, we’re in the clear, anything [can] happen cause mother nature, never mess with her,” said Mr. Ramzan.
They’re hoping the lessons learned could help minimize damage should Cayman see a similar storm in the near future.
Hurricane season ends on the 30th of November.