Cayman back in business

| 01/09/2008

(CNS): With schools, offices, banks, businesses and shops all back to normal today (Monday 1 September), those returning from overseas could be forgiven for thinking that Gustav passed hundreds of miles from Grand Cayman rather than merely a few dozen. Clean up and utility teams cleared debris and sand from roads and replaced downed light polls throughout the weekend in what appeared to be double-quick time.

By Sunday afternoon Pat Bynoe-Clarke, Corporate communications Manager with CUC, confirmed that power had been restored right across the island. “Crews have been out all weekend replacing the downed poles and lines and we have now restored power island-wide,” she said. “The only customers now without power are those with specific problems at their properties and we are working with them to get their power restored as quickly as possible. Crews have also gone out to Little Cayman to help with the repair and restoration work there as well. We will be doing an overall assessment on Monday and CUC will then issue a full report.”

Grand Cayman received the official all clear at noon on Saturday and the clean up operation begun immediately. Roads were cleared of fallen trees and other debris and the sand was quickly moved back to the beach, allowing smooth passage in a matter of hours. The worst hit areas were the Northern districts. Several poles and lines came down on the Queen’s Highway and in North Side, where sand was also washed on to the road in several areas. On Saturday afternoon staff were busy clearing Castro’s Bar at the Reef Resort of the extra sand that Gustav had brought and putting it back on the beach, but the resort reported there was no damage at all.

There was no evidence across the whole of Grand Cayman of any damage to property other than broken hoardings and one or two torn signs, and once the roads were cleared of debris and the odd felled tree the island was back to business as usual. By 10:00 am on Saturday all the local supermarkets were open, with most local bars and restaurants open for business again on Saturday evening. Macabuca Bar at the Cracked Conch in West Bay was experiencing very high seas but there was no damage to the property itself. Police also had to deal with many curious onlookers in George Town Harbour who came to watch the huge wavesthat were crashing on to the road.

Although gardeners had plenty to do on Sunday, there was very little for the DIY enthusiast to get to work on. It appeared that residents across Grand Cayman had learned lessons from Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 and had made sure their properties were well secured, avoiding any serious damage.

Meanwhile Gustav roared across the Gulf of Mexico heading for Louisiana and promising widespread destruction as a category 3 or 4 hurricane, which forecaster say is due to intensify. Gustav is also threatening to send oil prices soaring again as it shut down gulf production. Millions have evacuated from the Northern Gulf Coast and the President and Vice President have cancelled their plans to attend the Republican National Convention.

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