After Hurricane Ivan, a foreign–based company, MC Restoration, was
given the US$10.7 million debris clearing and processing contract. The
contract was harshly criticised by local heavy equipment operators who
said they could have done the job themselves.
When unveiling the
new Hurricane Plan to the media, National Hurricane Committee Chairman
Donovan Ebanks said the clearing of roads and disposing of debris would
be resourced though local entities.
The plan itself states that
it is a policy decision of the Cayman Islands Government “to further
develop the capability of public and private resources to manage debris
clearance, processing and cleanup operations with resources available
on the Islands through pre–disaster planning and the development of
However, the plan also allows contractors
to hire foreign entities themselves, as opposed to having the foreign
entity hired directly by the government, as was the case with MC
“A provision of the agreements with Islands’
businesses is that they will be allowed to create subcontracts with
external organisation in the event that local resources are overwhelmed
by the magnitude of the disaster.”
The primary responsibility for
collection and separation of disaster related debris, however, will
fall to the Department of Environmental Health, the plan states.
Initial Clearance and Debris Management sub–committee of the National
Hurricane Committee has been formed and is chaired by Roydell Carter,
the director of the Department of Environmental Health.
chairmen of the sub–committee include DoEH Assistant Director Sean
McGinn and National Roads Authority Managing Director Colford Scott.
Carter said there were still some legal points to be worked out with
the pre–contracts for local heavy equipment operators. However, he
noted that the pre–contracts would be “broader initial agreements that
would get the local guys started”.
The granting of a long–term
debris removal and processing contract would probably fall under the
responsibility of the Cayman Islands Recovery Operations manager who
would take over the long–term management of the disaster clean–up
operations under the guidelines of the National Hurricane Plan.
Another aspect of the new Hurricane Plan is for temporary debris storage sites to be pre–identified.
want to identify the sites well ahead,” Mr. Carter said, noting that
the sites would be on a mixture of government and private land.
Hurricane Plan calls for six– to nine–month rental contracts to be
signed on pre–identified private properties to be used as temporary
storage sites. Mr. Carter said there has been a delay in getting those
contracts signed this year.
“It’s something we’re trying to get sorted out,” he said.
have a list of various sites, but we have to run them by the Water
Authority and the Department of Environment first, so that an
environmental assessment can be done.”
Mr. Carter said that
different sites will be used for different types of debris to avoid
mixing the debris. For instance, he said one site might be used for
hazardous materials, one site for metals and derelict vehicles and one
site for vegetation.
It is anticipated that much of the
processing of disaster debris in the future will be done by the DoEH,
which has acquired a several pieces of equipment to do the job.
have a portable air curtain incinerator, which can be moved from site
to site,” Mr. Carter said, adding that the DoEH also now has a tub
grinder which can create mulch from vegetation.
The new equipment
will allow the DoEH to promptly start the processing of debris after a
disaster, unlike after Hurricane Ivan when it took almost two months to
start the process.
“We’ll be able to start right away,” Mr. Carter said.
The DoEH will also eventually be able to deal with the disposal of vehicles.
have a car crusher on order,” he said. “The situation in New Orleans
[after Hurricane Katrina] slowed things down. We’re now looking at
August or September [for getting the car crusher].”
There are still many cars at the landfill from Hurricane Ivan and before.
trying to get the existing cars and metal off the island very soon,”
Mr. Carter said, adding that the government is looking for a buyer for
Mr. Carter said he had confidence in his personnel
at the DoEH to handle their new responsibilities. He praised his
staff’s response after Hurricane Ivan.
“I was very surprised how
quickly our people came out, no matter what they lost,” he said. “I
must say they came out without any hesitation.”
Unlike many other government departments, the DoEH was not crippled by the loss of many of its vehicles during Hurricane Ivan.
“We were one of the few departments that secured our vehicles on the Linford Pierson Highway,” he said.
on the fact that space to park on the Linford Pierson Highway will be
in short supply now that everyone else knows it is high ground, Mr.
Carter said he did have an alternative parking option.
“We could always use the landfill,” he said. “We’ve got sufficient height there.”