Aid for Brac business

| 18/11/2008

(CNS): The first loan approved by the Cayman Islands Development Bank (CIIB) under the previously announced Post Paloma Relief plan was to a car rental agency on Cayman Brac. The owners advised the visiting party that their vehicles’ windows and lights were severely affected by flying debris and required replacements even though the fleet of vehicles were protected from flooding. And a CIIB hotline has been set up as a comprehensive source of information for small business owners in the Sister Islands.  Minister Charles Clifford said the need for reliable information was paramount.

The toll free number is 1 800 534 0004.

The idea for the hotline came about after last week’s joint visit by the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Investment & Commerce and the Cayman Islands InvestmentBureau to hurricane ravaged Cayman Brac.

Minister of Investment & Commerce, the Honourable Charles Clifford says the need for this single source for information was evident, “The need for timely and reliable information is paramount especially during times of crisis. The telephone system is one of the few reliable communication tools in the Paloma affected areas. By bringing together this diverse range of information the CIIB is providing an extremely valuable service to the people of the Sister Islands. We can assure the people of Cayman Brac that the Investment Bureau will continue to look for innovative ways to service small businesses as well as the wider community.”

Minister of Commerce Charles Clifford, along with the Chairperson of the Board and General Manager for CIIB recently paid a visit to Cayman Brac. Included on the agenda were meetings with small business owners to determine levels of assistance required to facilitate their operational needs, a release from the Ministry said.

Minister Clifford underscored the value of the CIDB visit to the sister Islands, “In this time of dire need it was important for the CIDB to reach out to its affected customers and potential customers in the Sister Islands. It is also important for us to understand first hand the challenges those businesses face as they rebuild.”

Sister Islands Representative Mr. Moses Kirkconnell was very appreciative of the CIDB and their plans for support, “We are very grateful for the assistance from the CIDB. As in all economies, the vast majority of businesses on the Sister Islands are small businesses. While small businesses are the ones most vulnerable to catastrophic events, such as we experienced here on the Brac; they can more dramatically benefit from loans and financial programs such as those offered by CIDB.”

CIDB General Manager Ralph Lewis was pleased to be in a position to assist, “Our relief plan announced last week is in place and financial assistance has already been provided for some of our clients on the Sister Islands. We are happy that we could address our customer’s request for assistance within 3 business days in order to allow him to be fully operational in the near future.”

As well as meeting the owners of the car rental agency, the group also met the owners of a bakery located in Spot Bay. These customers had requested assistance with the expansion of their facility to meet increased demands, being the only operational bakery on the Sister Islands. To assist this customer, an order has been placed with an overseas vendor for delivery of additional equipment for the Bakery.

According to Minister Clifford, “We understand that small businesses are the lifeblood of an economy, and the Sister Islands are no exception. Where those businesses need help the CIDB will be there to provide financial assistance and to help them get back on their feet.”

Existing business customers and potential customers are encouraged to contact the CIDB for an appointment to discuss their financial needs during the Bank’s weekly visit.

For more information on the Hurricane Relief programme and to make an appointment to meet with Mr. Lewis and other CIDB representatives in Cayman Brac, please contact the Disaster Coordinator, Rhonda Conolly at 814 6262 or Mr. Lewis at 814-6269.


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