Minister of Defense to Review Montserrat’s Hurricane Readiness

Minister of Defense MP Mark Lancaster

The Governor’s Office is preparing to welcome its second UK Minister in as many months later this week.
The UK’s Minister for the Armed Forces at the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the Right Honourable Mark Lancaster MP, and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Mounts Bay will both visit Montserrat as part of the UK Government’s preparedness for the peak of the Caribbean hurricane season.

The Governor’s Office said Monday, the Minister, accompanied by senior military planners, will arrive early on Thursday 26 July and will leave early the following day. During his visit he will meet all the key safety and security agencies in addition to the Premier and Cabinet. He will also see the capabilities that RFA Mounts Bay can provide. The focus of discussions will be safety and security with particular reference to disaster/hurricane preparedness and resilience.

Looking forward to his visit, the Minister said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity both to visit Montserrat and see first-hand the support that the UK is providing through the presence of RFA Mounts Bay. Montserrat was lucky to escape Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and I hope she is as lucky again this year but I know that, if Montserrat is affected, RFA Mounts Bay will provide an excellent platform for the UK’s first response efforts.”

Captain Peter Selby taken aboard the bridge on RFA Mounts Bay

His Excellency the Governor, Mr Andy Pearce, also welcomed the Minister’s visit: “I am delighted that the Minister for the Armed Forces and his team are able to visit Montserrat along with RFA Mounts Bay at this time. This is a clear recognition that Montserrat and support for its disaster preparedness are a priority for the UK Government as we approach the peak of the hurricane season. This is the first time that Mounts Bay has visited since August 2017. Since then she has provided fantastic first response support to Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands in the wake of Hurricane Irma. I am sure she will do so again if she is needed and we are all hugely grateful for her reassuring presence.”

Governor Pearce told the press Monday that key non-electrical supplies for the island will be arriving seperately due to scheduling differences with the ship. However, he added that in case of an emergency, the RFA vessel had an adequate amount of emergency food, tarpaulins and other essentials to lend support.

Captain Peter Selby, the Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay, which visits from 25 – 27 July, has added his thoughts: “RFA Mounts Bay is no stranger to Montserrat following our successful visit in August 2017. However, for many of the ship’s company and me, this is our first visit and I am looking forward to seeing and hearing about all the work that has been done to prepare for the season while also enjoying some of Montserrat’s famous hospitality, which our predecessors have talked so much about.”

More details of the planned activities for the ministerial visit and the support ship will be released later this week.

The Rt Hon. Tariq Ahmad visited the island at the start of the hurricane season on June 1.

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