Creek Dock operational

| 12/11/2008

(CNS): The main infrastructure at Creek Dock is undamaged and all equipment is operational, according to Port Authority Director, Paul Hurlston, who was on Cayman Brac Tuesday to assess damage to the island’s port facility. Effective immediately there will be no Port fees applied to goods imported to Cayman Brac for a period of one month, he has announced.

Hurlston travelled to the Brac for the day with Chairman of the Board Wayne Panton, Financial Controller James Parsons, Deputy Director Operations Clement Reid, Fleet Manager Vernick Fredrick, and HR Manager Sandra Barnett.

The aim of the team was to check the physical facility to see what the Port Aurthority needed to do in Grand Cayman and also to understand the needs of the PA staff, said Panton. The Authority may need to provide advances on salaries or or small loans in the immediate term, and also to understand any personal needs such as counselling.

"We understand that this facility is going to be critical in the coming months to the restoration of life and the structure of Cayman Brac. So we want to make sure we have the facility ready to fulfill these objectives," he said. Although the exterior of the warehouse has been damaged by the hurricane, the frame remains intact and repairs are scheduled.

The Authority was sending 15 staff from Grand Cayman Wednesday morning who would spend the day helping the Brac staff, but who would probably leave that night. However, Panton said that they may have a rotation of teams coming into the Brac for a few days at a time in the future to aid in the clean up and restoration of the Creek Dock as well as to assist with the discharge of vessels. However, they need to first find out what accommodation is available so that they don’t strain resources. Some of the Brac staff members don’t even have accommodation right now, he noted.

"We are fortunate that the facility is repairable in the short to medium term," Panton said, adding that plans to restore the storage facility were already being implemented and that afterwards it would be stronger than before.

The first barge left Grand Cayman Tuesday afternoon and arrived around midnight last night. The Authority has requested that shipping companies only bring relief supplies. "We have asked them to prioratise because we don’t have the ability to store significant amounts right now," Panton said.

Minister for Commerce Charles Clifford, who also has ministerial responsibility for the Port Authority, welcomed the news from the Port Authority saying, “This is good news and one more step in the right direction to ensure the recovery of our Sister Islands is swift and effectively meets the needs of our people. I commend the Port Authority for stepping up to the plate and encourage those private sector companies that are in control of fees and charges on the residents of our Sister Islands to follow suit as a way of aiding their recovery from Hurricane Paloma.”

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