Skip to comments.Urgent US military intervention needed in Grand Cayman
Posted on 09/15/2004 8:37:06 PM PDT by Pikamax
Urgent US military intervention needed in Grand Cayman The following is the full text of an open letter from Mr Timothy Adam Chief Executive, Cable & Wireless (Cayman Islands) Ltd
Wednesday, September 15, 2004 Grand Cayman urgently needs military intervention to restore and to preserve law and order. This needs to happen TODAY.
No doubt US authorities are already aware of the widespread looting that has occurred. I have heard sporadic attempts at looting continue to occur. I got caught in traffic right beside a site where police had shot several times at a looter and had detained him, and there was a near riot - a very volatile situation to which police responded promptly with heavy assault weapon teams.
Last night there was a prison riot at HMP Northward in which a number of prisoners escaped. A prison guard was injured (I have heard it was not fatal) and a fire was started in the prison. ALL the island's law enforcement agencies had to be diverted to deal with this. The situation has been calmed down but it is still volatile, the police have had to go back there in force subsequent to the initial incident being calmed, and there now remains a serious weakness in the security force because a lot of the police and Special Constables are now diverted to handle the situation. Worse yet, there is a convicted rapist and a convicted murderer on the loose. Police have now been diverted from their already seriously stretched law and order duties to search for these dangerous criminals under difficult circumstances. The island's power supply has not been turned back on yet and even when it is, most of the electricity poles on the island have been broken, even huge concrete poles snapped, and there are NO streetlights ANYWHERE on the island. Police are operating in total darkness.
Police communication with outside law enforcement agencies have been very restricted due to the storm.
Our towers appear to have all withstood the storm and at least seven of them have anti-collision lights operating, which is great news because that means they still have electrical power. One of our top priorities is restoring the national transmission system links so that we can get those RBSs operational again. The Cable & Wireless core systems are now fully functional, including both GSM and TDMA core systems, local host exchange, ISC, internet, international submarine cable Maya 1, etc.
National transmission links have sustained damage and are out due to flooding and other physical damage inflicted by Hurricane Ivan. Restoration of national transmission links is one of our top priorities, and our teams are working day and night on this. Once we get transmission to our cell sites we are hopeful most of them will become operational again.
On-island communication is spotty. Police use cellular communication in addition to the Government radio system, but presently only a few areas have cellular coverage. There is a good Government radio communication network but in several areas the police are having to operate without any communication at all with headquarters or other units for backup.
Central Police Headquarters in George Town has been destroyed by Hurricane Ivan. The police have moved their headquarters to the first floor of One Technology Square, the island's telecommunication bunker owned and operated by Cable & Wireless (Cayman Islands) Ltd. of which I am Chief Executive.
This site is presently also housing the 911 Emergency Communications Centre, which we moved here as a temporary measure a couple of days in advance of the storm at the request of government due to their concerns about the survivability of their normal centre located in Central Police Station. Suffice it to say that proved to be a very wise decision!
I should emphasise (to the US Military) that in the present situation all the islands' internal and external telecommunications are entirely dependent on the continued operation of this site.
In summary: If we lose this site, we have lost the country. This site needs to be defended with military assistance as a matter of urgent priority. The US Military also need to know that in this site and in an adjacent building (AT&T Wireless offices in Trinity Square on Eastern Avenue) there are in total at least 25 United States citizens who in my considered opinion need their country's protection NOW, hence I believe under US laws use of the military is justified or authorised. For the most part these are people who are very necessary to help in the telecommunications restoration work. PLEASE BE CLEAR: WE ARE NOT SUGGESTING THAT THE US SHOULD EVACUATE THEM; on the contrary most of these people need to remain here because THEY ARE VITAL TO THE REBUILDING PROCESS THAT IS GOING ON SO THAT THE COUNTRY CAN RECOVER FROM THE HURRICANE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE! There are a few of this number who are spouses and children of Cable & Wireless staff, families, and/or others who have taken refuge in One Technology Square, several of whom we are planning to evacuate through existing channels and military assistance is not needed for that.
I should also mention the thousands of United States of America citizens who are located elsewhere in the island, who for the most part are also necessary for the restoration effort. A bit of US Military help is required not just for One Technology Square, but to assist law enforcement across the island, and will no doubt contribute to the safety and security of those US citizens.
This will work best if the US Military works closely with the Royal Cayman Islands Police [RCIP]. It does not need an over-reaction, a heavy-handed approach, or imposition of martial law, but rather assistance and relief for the exhausted police team and the capability to execute no-nonsense law enforcement across the island, but the US Military must make it clear to British (and if necessary local) officials that either the RCIP will let them help or the US Military will do what is necessary without RCIP cooperation. If the US do not act in a measured way and if they come in with too heavy a hand, we risk losing the island's reputation for stability, and that will destroy our economy.
Let me emphasise that what is needed is for the US Military to provide the necessary relief to the limited and over-extended local authorities, and the local authorities need to accept that help. While the local law enforcement authorities seem to be "holding strain" and are maintaining peace and stability, this is not sustainable without some relief from the outside whether it is British or US but I am concerned that at this point the British are too far away.
Cayman Airways ran "first-come, first-served" evacuation shuttle flights to Miami yesterday from the time the runway opened up until nightfall prevented airport operations. The airport has NO navigational aids, NO PAPI, and only partially functional runway lights. They are hoping to have PAPI operational again by the end of the week. Air Traffic Control is operational, and inbound aircraft can use RNAV for approaches and landings. Kingston ATC is coordinating the air traffic. Grand Cayman ATC has had very limited outside communication due to storm damage to telecommunication faculties, but I have received word that that has been restored overnight.
The British appear to be "playing politics". The police force is a dedicated team of professionals who are determined to do their job - and do it on their own if they get no help - but they are very limited in number, they have been part of this tremendous group of people across this island who have brought us through the worst storm ever in these islands' known history without ONE SINGLE reported death so far, but the police are very limited in number and they are exhausted yet reports are that the British have refused to send in Royal Marines or Military Police to help. HMS Richmond and Royal Fleet Auxiliary Tanker Wave Ruler are here, the navy has sent ashore several of their crew from the ships, but they are unarmed and not prepared to engage in law enforcement. We understand the civilian Governor Bruce Dinwiddy has asked the British for military assistance in maintaining law and order, but so far it has not been forthcoming and so far as I have heard, there is not even a promise that it will come. There may be some reluctance at the higher echelons of the Government and Law Enforcement as to the need for outside assistance, but at the senior operational leadership level my sense of the situation is that the police are desperate for outside help.
Please know that I don't want to criticise anybody who is here in Grand Cayman. We have been through a living nightmare, we have done this together, we are determined, willing, competent and know what it takes to work together to put this country back together FAST, we are not at present in a total breakdown of law and order, but we are very much on the edge right at the moment and we do need some help NOW.
If I do not see a positive response by US Military to help us get our country's law and order stable which will also protect US citizens and US interests, I will assume this message has either not reached the right people or that they do not believe or understand it. We will then have to rely entirely on US and international public pressure to have the US give us some assistance immediately and for the local officials to accept it. Therefore I have already provided a copy of this to a local publisher, and to his webmaster who is located overseas. This person is a personal friend of mine, a ""fellow believer", who is one of the over 460 people who took shelter in this one building during the onslaught of Hurricane Ivan. He has sworn an oath to embargo this until noon today, however if I do not advise him to the contrary (and/or if we lose contact with his webmaster) this will appear on a website that is receiving hundreds of thousands of hits a day from people wanting to know what's happening in Cayman right now. Yesterday it received 509,000 hits.
Miami is one hour by jet away from here, Guantanamo Bay about 30 minutes, British forces are too far away to be of use now even if the British make the decision to intervene.
BUT MY AIM IS THAT THIS IS NEVER TO BE MADE PUBLIC - it would cause a lot of unnecessary panic, it will get blown way out of proportion and so will the response. it's not that the situation is out of control right now: with some help the RCIP can keep it under control, but we have to have a bit of military help to give us a margin of safety as a temporary measure, and hence my precaution to use publication as a "last resort" to see that we get some help. I just pray that it works.
Trust me and listen loud!
Timothy Adam Chief Executive, Cable & Wireless (Cayman Islands) Ltd
Isn't Cayman a British possession? The US military has no jurisdiction there.
You beat me to it, this is a job for the British, it is their sovereignty and their responsibility. Actually they have naval war ships there now, though probably not with forces adequate for policing
Royal Navy deploys on Grand Cayman to help maintain security
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Eighty officers and men from HMS Richmond were deployed on Grand Cayman Tuesday morning to assist the Cayman Islands Government in security and other pressing matters. A curfew, in force since Monday, requires all residents to remain in their homes or shelters from 6.00pm to 6.00am. Police officers reported a quiet night, indicating largely good co-operation from the local population.
There are no reported casualties at this time but, according to the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Dozens of people remain unaccounted for on Grand Cayman.
Meanwhile, Governor Bruce Dinwiddy, who is charged under the Emergency Powers Order with direct responsibility for all affairs in the recovery process, chaired a meeting of top civil servants and disaster recovery personnel Tuesday morning.
The most pressing matters are food and shelter. A programme of commissioning schools to serve as additional shelters has begun. These shelters will house people who sought temporary shelter in private office and government buildings during the hurricane. The Government is co-ordinating a public-private sector response to provide food for citizens in shelters. Discussions have also taken place on establishing a counselling centre to provide support for local people.
The private sector met Tuesday morning with the Government to discuss how it could assist with the recovery process. The Government is also working closely with local suppliers of lumber and other materials for home repair.
Local supermarkets are busily engaged in a process of repair and cleaning flooded facilities. Government personnel are liaising with supermarkets, and most will be ready to re-open by mid-week. Furthermore, a local shipping company was preparing for the arrival in Grand Cayman of its ship carrying food supplies. The clearing of the George Town Port to receive ships was being treated as a priority this morning.
The Owen Roberts International Airport is open on a limited basis. Priority is being given to medical evacuees, relief planes and flights that may be scheduled to bring in returning residents. A flight left Tuesday evening with around 29 patients (mainly dialysis patients) on board, bound for Miami where medical care will be continued.
In terms of external support for local disaster recovery agencies, four United Nations personnel are scheduled to arrive Wednesday, along with officials from the British Department for International Development. The Governor continues to maintain close contact with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding further assistance.
Isn't Cayman a British possession? The US military has no jurisdiction there.
I think they 'really' belong to Saudi Arabia now.
In Grand Cayman? That surprises me. It is a very wealthy island because of all the "banking" businesses. I was there this summer. Expensive place to even eat lunch.
Didn't the United Nations rush to their aid?
There, all better now. </ultra extreme sarcasm>
Many companies have subsidiaries or headquarters in the Caymans, usually a PO Box. Were the hurricane to take out the main post office, thousands of tax shelters would be blown away.
Are they roaming around naked down there? Teresa Hines Kerry is proud of you then.
Send in Al Qaeda to protect them from looters!
Gallows humor time ... a banker turned to a local and asked where he should go during the storm. The local told him to take refuge in his tax shelter.
We'd like to help, but if we do we'd face criticism from France and germany, and we don't want to go there. Sorry!
Crap on a cranberry! I thought their GOVERNMENT was making a request.
What, this guy thinks GWB in 2004 is an 1898 William Randolph Hearst stooge for his corporation?
Call a Bobby.
"BUT MY AIM IS THAT THIS IS NEVER TO BE MADE PUBLIC ..."
It would be kind of hard to have the American military there and keep it a secret. This poor guy is obviously spooked, but not very realistic. I hope they are able to get things under control soon and start repairing and rebuilding.
And this gives him the authority to ask for US military intervention? Who does he think he is? John Effin Kerry Circa 1972?
Maybe he remembers how long it took England to sail to the Falklands?