Meet the brand new CI Regiment
The Cayman Islands have stood up their first formal military formation, the appropriately named Cayman Islands Regiment. Currently numbering some 50 men and women who began their selection and training of in June, the Territorial Army “regiment” will actually be more company-sized, growing to approximately 175 strong by the end of 2021, and is commanded by a light colonel, formerly of the Royal Dragoon Guards.
As the 65,000-person autonomous British Overseas Territory known for its flexible banking and great skin diving is very much an extension, by law, of the UK, the Ministry of Defense has been supplying equipment and trainers drawn from 131 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers, 40 & 45 Commando Royal Marines, the Welsh Guards, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, The Grenadier Guards, and the Royal Navy while a number of junior officers of the CI Regiment have been sent to Sandhurst. Other recruits will apparently train alongside the part-time soldiers of the more established (circa 1965) Royal Bermuda Regiment in that British territory.
The Caymans, of course, have a long military tradition, with local colonists having taken part in the island’s defenses since 1662 and many a young man enlisted in the redcoats of the West Indies Regiment or in Royal Navy for service overseas. In World War II, a 44-strong home guard unit was formed to watch out for saboteurs and German U-boats, a conflict that also saw the Empire raise the short-lived Caribbean Regiment, which served in North Africa.
Since 1907, the chain has maintained a professional police force that today has evolved into the current 400-member Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, which the CI Regiment will support with a concentration on Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) skills.
They will not be the only new British regiment in the New World. Last December, Turks and Caicos Islands Governor Nigel Dakin had announced that they will also follow the lead of the Cayman Islands in the formation of the Turks and Caicos Regiment drawn from among their 42,000 islanders.
The MoD typically has a portion of an RM Commando on tap to support West Indies deployments as well as the Royal Navy’s rotational West Indies Guard Ship (currently the OPV HMS Medway) which roam across not only the Caymans, Bermuda, and the T&Cs, but also protect the territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, and Montserrat while supporting the regional Commonwealth states of Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Trinidad & Tobago.