RFA Mounts Bay, a British Royal Navy auxiliary aid ship, is making ‘best speed’ to the Bahamas to help with recovery efforts. This is according to the UK Ministry of Defence. The ship has been in the region since June in preparation for the hurricane season and is equipped with specialist personnel, stores, and transport as well as a Wildcat helicopter for rescue and surveying operations.
During her featured address at the launch of a Strategic Leadership Programme for regional security personnel today, British High Commissioner Janet Douglas says the British Government had set up an embassy in the Bahamas a mere two weeks before the island was pummelled by Category 5 Hurricane Dorian.
“We know from the experience of dealing with Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017 and as we meet, the International Operations are already underway to assist the Bahamas following the passage of Hurricane Dorian. I am only sorry that we would not be gathering today as originally planned on the British Vessel RFA Mounts Bay which was due to port at the Bridgetown Port today. Mount Bay, as many of you will know, has been diverted to assist with the relief operations in the Bahamas. But I think her absence is a fitting reminder of the unpredictability of the security environment and a great illustration of the type of the international corporation that I have just described,” she said.
Following the launch ceremony, Barbados Defence Force Chief of Staff Colonel Glyne Grannum said it is early stages for the Barbados Defence Force to know if they too will join the recovery operations in the Bahamas and noted that a teleconference meeting with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) was scheduled for 1 p.m.
“We are going to look at the scale of impact as reported as we have been getting some information out of Nassau, Bahamas. So there is going to be a meeting at 1300 hours to discuss what the emerging needs are and to start to see how the region as a whole and certainly the military forces can participate. Considerations over the next six to 12 hours will be very hectic and intense in terms of assessing the need for forces and if the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) is required, that is a decision that will be made by Government,” he said.
Grannum was speaking at the launch of the Strategic Leadership Programme, a partnership between the Barbados Defence Force and the UK Ministry of Defence, on Monday in the Hodgson Hall Conference Room, St Ann’s Fort, The Garrison, St Michael.
The course which is set to run for five days will allow 25 participants to enhance their strategic leadership performance. It’s a variant of the Senior Strategic Leadership Programme run by the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom and is aimed at the Major-General and Brigadier levels of command.
Grannum shared the brief history of St Ann’s Fort and explained that the course will be stationed in Barbados but will have security practitioners from the region and Latin America.
“We are proud to take a further advancement in our ability to bring together the senior leadership, senior capacities not just locally within Barbados, within the interagency framework, but across the region and to warmly welcome our colleagues from as far away as Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad, Dominican Republic and all the other islands in the archipelago in between,” he said.
British High Commissioner Janet Douglas told the gathering that she is heartened that the programme has attracted senior members of the BDF.
“The British Government is proud to offer this highly prestigious Strategic Leadership Programme to our security partners in the Caribbean. The programme will be delivered by a civil-military team from Shrivenham which is the UK’s Defence Academy and from Cranfield University. The aim of the course is to enhance strategic leadership management at the corporate strategic level across defence and the wider security sector,” she said.
Douglas told the gathering the course will be facilitated by Lieutenant Colonel Tim Taylor and Mohammed Zandi. The British High Commissioner said the programme has been running since 2006 in developing and developed countries.
“The burden of leadership is heavy and we need to work together to ensure that our leaders, both current and future, are exposed to concepts of leadership in the widest variety of forums and the context of constantly evolving scenarios. The topics you will be examining this week are central to how you would react when called upon by your respective countries’ political leaders. The course will [touch] on key issues such as ethics, change management, forms of leadership and communications. Underpinning everything that we as public servants do, whether in the civil service or in the security forces, is the issue of integrity. I am sure the programme will provide food for thought both this week and beyond when you return to your respective day jobs,” she said. (LG)