Lieutenant Colonel Anton Gash, the United Kingdom Defence Attaché for the Caribbean paid his scheduled visit to Montserrat from March 4th to 7th. While on island he had meetings with Governor Andy Pearce, Premier Donaldson Romeo, Deputy Governor Lyndell Simpson and officials from the Senior Ranks of the Royal Montserrat Defence Force (RMDF) and the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS).
Lt. Colonel Gash also met with the Senior Management team at the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA). During this visit with the DMCA there was discussion about the capabilities of the department as well as the importance of emergency plans, the potential for training opportunities and capacity building.
As part of ensuring that the Defence Attaché had a full picture of Montserrat, he visited Plymouth and other areas in the south of the island. He also went aboard the MV Heliconia Star to meet with the crew and receive a briefing as to the capabilities of the vessel and was taken on a brief patrol. Lt. Colonel Gash had worked with other stakeholders to ensure that the RMPS was successful in receiving the police launch.
According to a release from the RMDF, since Gash took up post in the Caribbean the RMDF, the RMPS and its Marine Unit have all benefited from a number of training opportunities in Antigua, Barbados, Belize and in the UK. During his visit, he provided assurance that he will ensure that all organisations continue to benefit from the opportunities.
One of the highlights of the official’s visit was that he was invited to inspect a Guard of Honour comprising of a Unit from the RMDF, set of RMDF recruits, a unit from the RMPS, and unit from the MSS Cadet Corp and a set of MSS Cadet Corp recruits. This activity coincided with the first inspection parade where the RMDF started to wear the recently acquired and blessed uniforms.
Gash spoke to the troops and stated how proud he was to see the RMDF wearing the same uniform as the UK armed forces as they are tangible and visible example of the support we have been receiving since the visit of the UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces Colonel Mark Lancaster last year. Additionally, this marked the first inspection parade where the MSS Cadet Corps wore their full green uniform which is a transition away from the traditional camouflage which the unit has been using for many years as their everyday dress. Similarly, the all blue uniform would be the one which would be the uniform of the recently launched Cadet Marine Unit.
Lt. Colonel Gash was accompanied by his wife on this visit and they departed Montserrat on the morning of Thursday 7th March 2019.