On Friday February 04 2022 a detachment of Royal Engineers will arrive on Montserrat to conduct training exercises with key Government of Montserrat stakeholders in the response to, and recovery from, hurricanes and other natural disasters. This exercise is the result of a reconnaissance visit in October 2021 when a pre-deployment team visited to meet with the relevant Government of Montserrat departments and draw up a programme for the main visit this year.
Primarily, the visit objective is for training and exercise purposes so that the Royal Engineers will be better positioned to deploy to Montserrat and assist with the island’s recovery in the event of a hurricane. However, they may help undertake other works as agreed with the relevant Government of Montserrat departments who may want to make use of their expertise. They will also, for example, be working with Montserrat Utilities Limited (MUL) and our Ministry of Communications, Works and Labour (MCWL) to help improve the resilience of our electrical and water supply networks.
His Excellency the Governor commented: “I am delighted that this long-planned visit is about to commence. It gives the opportunity for the Royal Engineers to learn more about our wonderful island and our challenges with our infrastructure. This knowledge and experience would be invaluable if they had to deploy here in the aftermath of a disaster to restore basic amenities like power and water. Likewise, Government of Montserrat colleagues who will work with them over the coming weeks will have a great opportunity to use Royal Engineer experience to get new ideas and skills.”
Director of the Disaster Management Coordination Agency, Major Alvin Ryan, who has been working closely with the Royal Engineers on this visit programme, had this to say:
“This is a very timely exercise especially ahead of the upcoming hurricane season where it is hoped that one of the activity’s key outcomes would be to work closely with other GOM stakeholders to devise a strategy to mitigate a major disaster impact to our exposed utilities infrastructure. We also hope that they would advise on ways to strengthen our water storage capacity. I am heartened by the fact that through this exercise that the RE will get a first-hand lay of the land in the event that they may be required to return in the future after any disaster impacts.”
The visit will last from 04 February to 07 March 2022 to exercise and conduct other works with DMCA, RMDF, MCWEL, MUL and other local stakeholders. The Royal Engineers will be based at the Tropical Mansion Suites Hotel for the duration of their visit.