All Sister Islands schools open

| 09/09/2008

(CNS): Update – West End Primary (WEPS) on Cayman Brac will be open for all students on Wednesday, 10 September, after an additional day off school when a short circuit in the main meter box caused an outage at the facility Tuesday.  All other schools on the Sister Islands finally started the new academic year today, Tuesday, 9 September.

The first three days of term were cancelled on the Sister Islands following Hurricane Gustav, and yesterday (Monday) schools were closed yet again while Hurricane Ike produced tropical storm force winds and squalls on the Brac and Little Cayman.

Just after assembly this morning at WEPS, as children began their first day back at school, there were two loud booms and sparks flew from the meter box on one of the outside walls, teachers said. The box was doused with a fire extinguisher and Public Works Department (PWD) staff member Giovanni McLean, who was there as a parent, turned off the main breaker, thus saving the school’s electrical equipment. Teachers at the school said most of the students were disappointed when they were told that they would have to go home this morning.

Sister Islands Education Services Facilities Coordinator Casey Conolly said that salt and rain from the recent storms were probably the cause. PWD staff replaced the service metre panel and cables and then Cayman Brac Power & Light staff restored power. Acting Learning Community Leader Tammy Banks-DaCosta said Tuesday evening that all schools would be back to normal Wednesday.

According to the post-Hurricane Gustav report on the Sister Islands , delivered by Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts, following the passing of category 1 hurricane, it appeared that the damage in both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman ranged from minor to moderate.

Tibbetts said the post-event assessment highlighted some things that could be improved on, such as establishing a dedicated centre of operations on each island in order to provide a higher level of communication. Therefore, his Ministry, which has responsibility for District Administration, has decided to provide a fully functional Command Centre at the Aston Rutty Centre on Cayman Brac and in the hurricane shelter on Little Cayman, he said.

“These shelters will be provided with marine VHF radios, 800 megahertz trunking radios, a satellite voice/data link, video conferencing and Internet. They will also be staffed with trained personnel during an emergency such as we experienced with Hurricane Gustav,” Tibbetts announced.

The LOGB also commented on the spirit of cooperation and community seen in the ongoing clean-up efforts on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, and commended all residents of all three islands for the support that they gave to their friends and neighbours in the days leading up to the storm.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Good job SI!

    It appears that the SI are progressive.  I am wondering however, if the Command Center at the Aston Rutty Centre has an Emergency Manager in the SI that works with HMCI in Grand Cayman?  Or is it the DC’s job?  While I believe the command center did a good job, it however lacks a few things, like involving the essential services in the command center decisions during the storm.   Well trained and informed staff to operate the CC is also indicative of prudent, progressive and effective governance-as opposed to one ot two decision makers.  That’s not complaining, just an observation-after all their plan worked, just needs a little fine toning to be more effective and efficient.