Ready for a crisis in the Cayman Islands
25 July 2019
All the Posts in and around the Cayman Islands are currently in the middle of hurricane season which runs from June through to November. Despite this, we work hard to ensure all of them can perform their functions all year round.
In 2018, we provided the Caribbean Overseas Territories with dedicated Expeditionary Diplomacy Kits. The portable and easy to set up satellite communications equipment ensured that all the islands had professional communication capabilities immediately available in the event of a natural disaster. Finally, our teams provided training to Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) staff in the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Grand Turk, Montserrat, Grand Cayman and Tortola.
Today, our Posts in the Caribbean are ready for hurricane season. Learn more about how we prepared for the hurricane season in our case study below.
Supporting the Cayman Islands in hurricane season
Hurricanes in the Caribbean are a seasonal issue, with communications to and from the UK and other countries disrupted during these disasters.
Having been involved in the rapid response during the 2017 hurricane crisis involving Hurricanes Maria and Irma, our Secure Global Services (SGS) team were well aware of the limitations and challenges of the satellite communications equipment. Due to slow connection times and the complexity of setup the kit wasn’t fit for purpose.
Following these challenges the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) contacted us for advice on how to better prepare for the 2018 hurricane season, which usually starts around July.
Using our knowledge, experience and expertise, we recommended provision of dedicated Expeditionary Diplomacy Kits to the Caribbean Overseas Territories to ensure all islands would have professional communication capabilities immediately available after any event.
Once given the go-ahead, the primary consideration was for the satellite communications equipment to be lightweight, robust and portable as well as easy to set-up and deploy.
We carefully selected equipment which fulfilled these criteria, weighing around 29 kg and supplied in two cases that are easy to carry-on to an aircraft. The equipment is configured specifically to access a secure, high-speed broadband satellite network. Most importantly, the user-friendly design allows operators with limited experience to access the satellite service within minutes.
Once the equipment was procured we delivered training to our Regional Technical Support Service (RTSS) team based in America on how to use the satellite communications equipment. In the case of emergency this team would be deployed first to the Cayman Islands to provide technical support and restore communications to the UK and other countries.
Next, a UK team was deployed to the Cayman Islands to train the FCO staff at post. Training was delivered at the Governor’s Office in Anguilla, Grand Turk, Montserrat, Grand Cayman and Tortola.
Our RTSS Technical Lead said, “Hurricanes in this region are an annual seasonal issue that we will have to deal with, therefore investment now in dedicated kits ensures that all Islands (not just one) are able to have professional communications capabilities immediately available after any event. The successful delivery of this project means that next time there is a crisis to hit the Cayman Islands communication can be set up quickly and easily by nontechnical staff at post in order to support any relief efforts necessary.”
This helps to ensure that agencies in the UK and the region are able to coordinate with government teams on the ground and provide essential relief if necessary.”
Head of Governor’s Office, Cayman Islands