Montserrat was represented at a United Kingdom-funded Multi Agency Gold Incident Command (M.A.G.I.C) training course, held during the period of 28 – 31 March 2022 at the Hampton Inn Brickell Conference Room in Miami, Florida.
According to a media release, Commissioner of Police Steve Foster, Superintendent of Police Albert Williams, and Captain Glenroy Foster of the Royal Montserrat Defence Force represented the island.
The course was put on by the United Kingdom College of Policing with the presenters having a wealth of experience both academically and real-life experience in dealing with major incidents. This training was carried out for all the Caribbean British Overseas Territories focusing on Multi-Agency Coordination in the event of a Natural or Man-made incident. The countries represented at this training course were Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands. These countries were represented by various agencies including Police Forces, Immigration Departments, Fire Services, National Disaster Offices, Central Government and Military.
This training workshop was funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
The workshop was aimed at providing an opportunity for key agencies responsible for responding in the event there is an incident within a Caribbean British Overseas Territories to strengthen and broaden their understanding of the requirements and coordination necessary to
operate in an incident requiring a Joint coordinated multi-agency response.
Each of the countries represented indicated that the need for cooperation and coordination between agencies is important especially as it is an efficient use of the already finite resources among the various responding agencies.
Some of the topics covered included the Role of a Gold Commander, Legal responsibilities and the utilization of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles more commonly known as JESIP. JESIP was a key part of the training session as the principles are important in the Coordinated Joint decision-making process to ensure that the decisions made by the Gold Commander produces the best outcome possible. The key principles of JESIP are: Co-location of representatives of responding agencies; Communicate using language which is clear to all involved; Co-ordinate priorities, resources, capabilities, and limitations of each organization for an effective response; Jointly understand the risk by sharing information about the likelihood and potential impact of threats and hazards to agree appropriate control measures and a Shared Situational awareness among responding agencies.
The training course culminated with a tabletop exercise of a major incident involving an explosion on a potentially overloaded party boat. This incident required the assistance from various agencies to ensure an efficient response. As part of the exercise there was a mock press conference simulating the media’s first opportunity to ask a question about the incident. Similarly, one of the participants had the opportunity to be involved in a simulated one and one interview with a major news network. Another aspect of the tabletop exercise was the simulating of COBR call to the United Kingdom Government. COBR stands for Civil Contingencies Committee that is convened to handle matters of national emergency or major disruption in the United Kingdom and is chaired by the Prime Minister or Senior government minister. Its purpose is to coordinate different departments and agencies in response to such emergencies. This call provided an update to the situation that was taking place as well as giving the response team the opportunity to request resources to aid in the response to the incident. The final aspect was a simulated Commission of Inquiry where participants took to the withstand to be questioned about their response actions during the incident.
This training was beneficial to Montserrat by providing the training and skills for local agencies to use the Joint Emergency Services Interoperable Principles and the Joint Decision model to enhance our multiagency operation in times of a Major Incident, natural Disaster or a Manmade disaster. It is recommended that a similar training tailored for the Montserrat environment targeting critical stakeholders is conducted soon. This will benefit the entire community.