Garth Clarke of Northward didn’t know what to expect when he returned home
after weathering hurricane Ivan at his family’s house.
“It was terrifying to walk up the street and see my home and my car so
damaged,” he said, but with the help of the Cayman Islands National Recovery
Fund, Mr. Clarke’s home has now been repaired and is once again a refuge for his
girlfriend and son.
“A friend told me about the fund and once I applied the whole process worked
quickly. The contractors repaired the roof and replaced two windows in about a
week and a half and everything went smoothly,” said Mr. Clarke.
Since October over 1,200 applications like Mr. Clarke’s have been received by
the CINRF and over 69 contracts have been awarded. Mrs. Angela Martins,
executive director of the CINRF, stated that the purpose of the fund is to
complete the work necessary to ensure a house is dry – including repairing the
roof, windows and doors. Up to $15,000 can be allotted to each home with 75% of
the fund intended for drying–in and the remainder available to make interior
repairs to ceiling drywall or tiles.
Mrs. Martins and her team at CINRF are actively pursuing donations from
private and corporate citizens since she estimates it would take nearly 20
million dollars to help just 400 of the more than 1200 applications the fund has
received thus far. “The CINRF realizes the need for our support is great and we
will continue to work diligently to raise the funds to repair as many homes as
possible,” said Mrs. Martins.
Mr. Chris Richmond, Housing Services Coordinator, explained the process that
applications go through: “Every application is reviewed to ensure all necessary
information is included such as the block and parcel number and proper street
address. Many applications are missing this information and we cannot progress
until it is provided.
“Once the application is complete our site inspector visits the property and
makes an inspection to determine if $15,000 is sufficient to make the home
“If the property is not structurally sound we cannot progress with work
because we’d risk the safety of contractors. If damages are beyond $15,000 we
set that application aside until we have the funds to help those people.
“After inspection we send out a project manager to make a detailed quote
which we present to the trustees for approval. Then the funds are transferred to
the contractors who begin work on the home.”
Five independent contractors are currently working with CINRF: Arch and
Godfrey, Chalmers Gibb Martins Joseph (CGMG), Evans and Oracle, Hadsphaltic and
OBM. Each contractor has a project manager who supervises the work on the homes,
ensuring work of a high quality is achieved. “Quality control gives everyone the
ability to sleep soundly – the trustees, owners and the contractors,” said Mr.
Richmond. “People who donate to this fund want the work to be done safely and
effectively,” he continued.
Mr. Richmond assures home owners who receive funding that they will have
quality work completed with minimal problems due to the reputation of the
contractors being used.
“Some homeowners want to supervise work but this isn’t necessary since our
project managers will supervise the job,” he said.
Mrs. Martins said that initially, one of the main challenges to completing
contracts was the lack of building materials on the island. “To tackle that
problem the CINRF trust has now approved bulk purchasing through local building
suppliers,” said Mrs. Martins.