The UK and the Cayman Islands have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will pave the way for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) Air Operations Unit to acquire a second helicopter.
The MoU was signed in by Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister of State for the Overseas Territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon and Honourable Premier Alden McLaughlin in London. The deal will see the UK contribute 25 per cent of the cost of purchase and running costs for the new H145 – the aircraft will cost US$11 million, including training.
“I’m very happy that we are moving forward with a second helicopter and I thank the Governor's Office for their assistance and the UK Government, in particular Lord Tariq Ahmad, for partnering with us,” said Premier McLaughlin. “This helicopter will provide invaluable support to our newly formed Coast Guard agency and the broader national security agencies. This addition to our aerial support will also position us as a centre of excellence with capability and capacity in supporting security, law enforcement, and disaster response for our Caribbean Overseas Territories.”
The deal will also allow for the expansion of the RCIPS Air Operations Unit, with two new tactical flight officers (TFOs) due to join the team as well as an additional pilot. One of the service’s existing TFOs will also be sent on secondment to National Helicopters in Trinidad for a three-to-four-year period, where he will train and obtain his flying hours to become a pilot captain.
“The collaboration between Airbus, the Cayman Islands and the UK governments on this project has been excellent and I am delighted that it is moving ahead so quickly,” Lord Ahmad said. “The capability that the new helicopter will bring to law enforcement and missions that will save lives is vitally important. The Cayman Islands have shown their determination to come to the aid of fellow territories during times of crisis and this initiative will also improve the safety and security of all the Caribbean Overseas Territories.”