Brac starts pulling through

| 09/11/2008

(CNS):  The people of Cayman Brac may be facing mass destruction in the wake of Hurricane Paloma but they are already getting down to work this morning to start putting their beautiful island back together again. Ernie Scott, District Commissioner for the Sister Islands spoke with CNS and said Brackers had made it through their first post-Paloma night quite well and that help was literally pouring in to the island from Grand Cayman. (Also see See Sisters Info for the latest news)

“The Wave Ruler is here now and I’ve been chatting to the Captain who has fifty men that can help us with technical and infrastructure issues. We have supplies pouring in from Grand Cayman and because there was so little damage over there everyone is able to focus on what needs to be done here. We are getting plenty of food and help,” Scott said.

Although Little Cayman seems to have suffered considerable damage as well at this point it is Cayman Brac that has certainly had the worst hit. Scott said that some 90% of homes have lost part or all of their roofs. Billy’s Supermarket has been destroyed, gas stations are crushed, the police station and airport are damaged and the islands last remaining hotel, Brac Reef resort is devastated.

“Today’s focus will be on cutting trenches near the airport to drain the runway which has been flooded in parts. Although the twin otters can land we want to drain the whole length by tonight so the jet will then be able to come in,” Scott explained.

He said that he and other involved parties would be sitting down at 10:00 am this morning to set up a command centre to organise the recovery and form a plan. According to statements released by JCS (Joint Communication Services) yesterday a number of government officials will be heading to the Brac today with supplies. A team from CUC is also heading there to offer assistance to the Brac Power and Light Company.

As Paloma was a category three storm when it hit Cayman Brac and Little Cayman it should trigger immediate funding for re-building from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, a collective policy designed to help regional nations cope with the aftermath of major catastrophes which the Cayman Islands Government signed up to early last year.

In the meantime, Scott told CNS that with the support from Grand Cayman for which everyone was very grateful things were moving along on the Brac and the weather was OK at present. “Right now we have a few clouds and we’ve had some light drizzle but thank God no major rain with so many roofs gone.”  He said the most important thing was that there was no loss of life nor were there any serious injuries for which everyone was very grateful.

With power out and so much damage government has imposed a night time curfew on the Brac (but not Little Cayman) which will be in place each evening between 6 am to 6 pm.

However, Cayman Brac Power and Light Company is working round the clock to restore power to every resident on the island. "We will begin to energize small portions of the island, along the main road primarily, tomorrow around noon," said James Tibbetts General Manager.He said residents should make sure that no personal generators are connected to the mains breaker in houses. "We will be working to restore power from the power plant West to Stake Bay and then from the plant East to Watering place and small portions of the bluff and South Side. We have to still assess damages on some of the bluff and on South Side before we can re-energize everyone. We have mobilized our CUC partnership team and they will be arriving within a day or two to assist with recovery process."

He said that Little Cayman sustained major damage as well and teams will be working on recovery issues as almost everypole in the village area is broken. "We will try to energize certain portions by Monday," he added. "All residents should take necessary steps in securing basic needs such as food and water. Cayman Brac Power and Light is working around the clock to get power restored as quickly as possible and would like to thank everyone for giving us the right of way on streets. "

While phone lines are down we can be reached through the managers cell phone at 916-1656.

Paloma made its strike on Cayman Brac on the eve of 76th anniversary of one of the most devastating storms ever to hit the Cayman Islands – the 1932storm. It is believed that Paloma took a very similar direction to the ’32 storm. Early on 9 November, 1932 the storm passed Cayman Brac with winds of up to 155 miles per hour before sweeping into north–east into Cuba.

Keep checking CNS throughout the day for more news directly from the Sister Islands.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Godspeed to all those on the Brac!

  2. Anonymous says:

    We were watching the storm and were concerned about our friends on the Brac, but I assured my daughter they were all smart enough to be safe and make it ok.  Relieved but not surprised that everyone made it through with no serious injury or casualty to Paloma.

    The resourcefulness of the Brac people will guarantee a swift and efficient recovery.

    Good luck and Godspeed the recovery.

  3. Anonymous says:

    To the great and wonderful people of our Sister Islands, "help is on the way" from your big brother Grand Cayman. We are so devastated to learn that you are enduring the same fate we experienced from Hurricane Ivan in 2004. We will never forget you and will stand by you in these difficult times and together "we will pull through" to much brighter days ahead.

    While I understand it is now time for all of us in Grand Cayman to concentrate on helping you in your crisis, please permit me as I do have something on my mind that is worth mentioning as it relates to "financial relief".

    I can’t help but wonder at a time like this, the recent wastage of our "Public Funds" that could have now been used to help the Sister Islands, from the suffering and misery that they are now experiencing from Hurricane Paloma.

    How nice it would be to have $4 million dollars CI and still counting, at a time like this, but instead was earlier spent on Martin Bridger and Stuart Jack, SPIT (Special Police Investigation Team) fiasco. Instead of these monies being available to help those affected by Hurricane Paloma, finances were wasted on "Penthouse Suites" on 7 Mile Beach, rental/lease on large office space in central George Town, rental cars galore, all expenses paid from the UK to Grand Cayman for Martin Bridger and his crew’s families to vacation in sunny isles Cayman, cost for a legal adviser to SPIT and Stuart Jack who I understand from very good sources dosen’t even have a work permit or a licence to practice law in Cayman, unlimited free communication between the Cayman Islands to family and friends in the UK, do I need mention more ?????

    Many in our Sister Islands are now in desperate need and are not likely to have insurance coverage to rebuild their homes and businesses due to the rising cost of insurance premiums since Hurricane Ivan. This is not just the case in the Sister Islands but here in Grand Cayman as well. What if Hurricane Paloma had struck Grand Cayman with the intensity it hit Cayman Brac and Little Cayman ??

    As bad as it is, thanks to Almighty God it could be a whole lot worst.

    We are still awaiting the promised financial assistance from the UK- EU for rebuilding some of our destroyed homes since Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and families are still living in trailer homes throughout Grand Cayman. However, we have become accustom to the UK "talk the talk but they never seem to walk the walk unless it is in their sole interest to do so"

    I have read that Assistant Commissioner Yates will be arriving from the UK very shortly to assess SPIT and their investigation. Since that is being paid for by the tax payers of the Cayman Islands, I trust he will be travelling unaccompanied and not visiting for any unecessary extended "business/holiday stay" at myself and your expense. I wish that on his return to the UK he would so kindly carry Martin Bridger and his croonies along with him in his suitcase and in saying that, do the Caymanian people one more important favour, take Stuart Jack along with you as well !!!!!


  4. Anonymous says:

    Grand Cayman residents should be blessed that we were spared again from another dangerous hurricane but Cayman Brac and Little Cayman was not so lucky.  I think the people of Grand Cayman should band together and help our own people in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman in such a difficult time.

    We we blessed to not have any lost of life.  GOD IS SO GOOD TO THE CAYMAN PEOPLE.  I think we all forget what we went thru with Hurricane Ivan just a 4 short years ago and we went right back to being the same people that we were before Ivan.  We have to now take this as a wake up call and be the type of Caymanian people that we are known to be.

    My parents instilled in me fromthe time I could understand that kindness is the most important virtue to have and willingness to assist someone no matter how small is the important.  You don’t have to have money to be able to help, you can also give of your time which is just as important as money.  I instilled this in my daughter and I hope that when she has kids that she instill that in them also.  Caymanians let get up and try and become the people that we were known for only a few years ago.  Don’t make the Caymanian become lost and only let it come out in the face of adversity.  Let us maintain it all the year round.

    To all my fellow Caymanians on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman I wish you all the best and remember to pray to the one above because he will guide us and will not give us anymore than we can bear.