Published 29th September 2004, 12:0am
- The infrastructure for the National Radiocommunication System was designed so that it would survive the most destructive hurricane force conditions. The Government owned system performed reliably and operated continuously before, during and after Hurricane Ivan. The system, which was provided by our technology partner Motorola, did not fail. In fact, it is the only radiocommunication system in the Cayman Islands that continues to remain fully functional, now providing mission critical communications to approximately 1500 radio users across all 3 islands.
- The system has already processed hundreds of thousands of radio transmissions for the emergency services, including Police, Fire, Hospital and Red Cross, the National Hurricane Committee and its sub-committees, various other Government agencies including Public Works, Environmental Health, statutory authorities such as Water, Port and Civil Aviation, along with some private sector entities including Caribbean Utilities Company and Cable & Wireless.
- Prior to the arrival of Hurricane Ivan, Government Telecommunications Officer Michael Kiron activated disaster recovery plans with Motorola and other technology partners should the need arise. On Sunday the 12th September 2004, when it became apparent that the devastation was already severe and widespread, a call was made by satellite phone to Motorola to arrange for the immediate delivery of 200 portable radios. This one phone call, made at a time when category 5 winds were pounding the sat-phone antenna, activated Motorola's Disaster Response Team, which had been standing by throughout Ivanís progress across the Caribbean.
- Despite the disruption to traditional telephone and data communications lines, Motorola was able to provide confirmation to Kiron the very next day that 2 shipments of 100 radios each were on their way to Cayman Airways Cargo in Miami. Once the shipments had been received in Miami, they were rushed to Grand Cayman and 200 new radios had arrived by the 17th of September 2004. These radios have already been provided to Caribbean Utilities Company, Cable & Wireless, the Royal Cayman Islands Police, the National Clean-Up Committee and other agencies.
- The National Radiocommunication System provided the only reliable means of communication for members of the National Hurricane Committee, including links with all of the hurricane shelters that housed thousands of people across Grand Cayman. The Emergency Operations Centre also maintained continuous contact with the outside world by means of a satellite phone. During the height of the hurricane when no other forms of external communications were operational, the satellite telephone was used primarily by H.E. the Governor to provide updates to the Foreign Office in London. In addition, Kiron maintained contact with the Operations Officer onboard HMS Richmond, when traditional marine radiocommunications were not usable. Despite the destruction caused by Hurricane Ivan, there was never a time when Government did not have the means to communicate internally within the Cayman Islands or externally to overseas points.
- As the Government owned system continues to provide reliable and continuous radiocommunication services, it is being made available to the private sector that is involved with the re-building of Grand Cayman. Any eligible business is welcome to utilize the system for its existing complement of radios that are compatible with the Motorola technology. The system will provide businesses that have radios with reliable island-wide coverage. If you would like to learn more or determine whether your company's radios are compatible, kindly contact a member of staff at one of the following mobile numbers: 326-2871, 916-1281 or 516-3428.