Recovery from Hurricane Ivan is going slower than expected because money is
limited and the demand for aid is great.
That was the word from Health Minister Gilbert McLean at a recovery fund
meeting held at the Bodden Town MLA office Saturday evening.
Mr. McLean and Education Minister Roy Bodden said they had heard people are
complaining about the length of time it is taking to process grant
To answer some of the questions they invited Orrett Connor of the Cayman
Islands Recovery Operations Office; Angela Martins of the National recovery
Fund; Clite Linwood of the Recovery Office, CIDB Bank; and Twyla Vargas from
Mr. Conner said repairs are slow because it had been a challenge to get
contractors to participate in the recovery programme, which began shortly after
Hurricane Ivan slammed Grand Cayman 11–12 September.
“Everyone is too busy dealing with other operations that are more lucrative.
They are not attracted to a job that is only $15,000 in value.
“Recently we have been successful in obtaining the services of seven
construction companies,” said Mr. Connor.
“There are huge amounts of applications from people needing assistance, and
we are looking at those persons who were most at risk; the elderly, larger
families and those with children.
“We realize there is much work to do in Bodden Town, one of the harder hit
districts. The clean up has begun. After the clean up, plans are in place to
rebuild the community.”
“We have received, so far, 655 applications. Not everyone is asking for
$15,000 and not all people will get $15,000.
For the District of Bodden Town the number of sites visited so far for
approval of grants is 59 out of a total of 273, he said.
Mr. Connor encouraged those who have not submitted application to go ahead
and do so “The funds are there to help everyone,” he said.
“We have seen a number of applications from homeowners who were underinsured
and as a result, they will need assistance as well. Applications will be put in
order according to persons who did not have insurance.
“We are not out of the woods as far as our recovery process is concerned
there are serious issues still to be addressed if you have issue come in and let
us document them,” he said.
He briefly touched on the issue of trailers as temporary housing.
“I do not want it to appear that everything is going smoothly. As far as the
record is concerned, we have hit our bumps along the way. There will be
challenges to where the homes are placed simply because no one wants them in
their back yards.”
Mrs. Martins said the Recovery Fund is aggressively trying to raise
“The trust fund is not simply about housing. Only at this point the trust has
focused on housing as a critical priority. Anyone living here can apply. We have
a very aggressive fund raising campaign going on locally and internationally to
raise $15 million,” she said.
The Trust has received 12,077 applications for assistance; 440 of those are
in the A1 category with the focus being on uninsured, elderly and young children
living in unsuitable conditions.
Applications cover all the districts, said Mrs. Martins
Between October and December the National Recovery Fund project managers had
difficulty recruiting contractors.
That issue has been overcome, she said. There are 30 contracting firms
working with four project managers: Hadsphaltic, Arch and Godfrey, OBM and Evans
and Oracle. Once a case is assessed it is then passed to the project managers,
“From the get–go in mid October we had huge problems getting materials. That
was a big hold up for a number of homes in Bodden Town,” she said. “To relieve
that, we are now doing our own bulk purchasing and have 40 containers loaded
with material that is already on island,” she said.
Mrs. Martins also said her group is working with a group of young architects
to designs a simple three–bedroom cottage to meet the needs of people in Bodden
Town and East End where many of the applications are from spinsters and widowers
with a small amount of money.
She said they are concerned about people who are elderly who have no children
and no one to support them. If not helped now, these people could become a
burden to the state. Aggressive work was already done on about 30 properties
with roof repairs.
“The singular focus of the recovery fund is to dry in a home. That is roof
repairs, external doors and windows where 75 per cent of the $15,000 – if that
is required – has been spent on external work. The other 25 per cent can be
spent on internal walls and ceilings, but the primary focus is on getting home
dry,” she said.
Mrs. Matins said she had seen letters in which residents have expressed
concerns about their housing issues but they have not applied to the trust.
“If you have any queries please come by our offices on Eastern Avenue across
from Trinity Square,” she said. The offices are open from Monday to Friday 9am –
4.30pm and the telephone number is 943–3863. Forms are available at assistance
offices around the island.
Ms Vargas, said she was there to assist persons interested in obtaining the
mobile homes. Offices hours are from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm Monday through
Friday. Phone 525–2476.
At the end of the meeting during the question and comment time one Bodden
Towner showed his frustration at not getting help by telling the ministers they
were not doing enough to help him. It was suggested he take his questions to the
Reference was also made to debris In the Cumber Avenue area and what
government was doing about the school problem, to which Mr. Bodden replied that
Public Works was working as fast as humanly possible to get the job done.