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Government meets to assess damage

Local News 24 Aug, 2021 Follow News

Members of the PACT Government and the Opposition met Thursday morning

On Wednesday night Government held an emergency meeting to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Grace after it battered the Cayman Islands as a tropical storm, with winds of 65mph. MPs heard from the national emergency services as well as residents and also pooled their collective experiences, having surveyed their individual constituencies when it was safe to do so after the all clear was given Wednesday afternoon.

As a result of the meeting they resolved to approve funds to assist with the clean-up of the various constituencies, provide funding to assist with necessary housing repairs and also provide funds and services to farmers who have been adversely affected.

Premier Wayne Panton said it was essential that Government leaders met as quickly as possible to get an update on damages resulting from Grace and to agree on the best way forward in returning Cayman to normality.

“While I am pleased that there were no reported injuries or loss of lives, I am saddened to hear that many residents had damages to property,” he stated. “My Government remains people-driving and it was important to expeditiously approve a series of measures to help our people. I have asked my Cabinet colleagues to take immediate steps in order to implement the agreed solutions to help our communities.”

The Premier said he was pleased that MPs were out and about during the lead up to the storm, personally helping constituents.

“They helped secure homes and worked with the National Roads Authority to clear drains well late into the night,” he said. “I am even more pleased with their performance after the storm, where they assisted many people in their communities. I also want to thank their families for their personal sacrifice during this challenging time.”

The Premier said this was a time for unity and invited members of the Opposition to meet with his team to consider a way forward for the country.

“Recognising that this is an opportunity for all of us to work collaboratively, as community leaders, I have spoken to the Hon. Leader of the Opposition and invited him and his colleagues to a meeting this morning at the Government Administration Building. We will inform them of our proposed actions and provide them with the opportunity to work together with us for love of country and all its people and to engage in a successful recovery process,” he said.

Hurricane Grace caused widespread damage across the Cayman Islands that is now being assessed. With trees down, debris clogging roads, power out for much of the island and various places without water, Cayman missed the eye of the storm by a matter of miles yet still suffered a bruising from the heavy rain and winds in excess of 65mph. As it passed by Cayman, 65 miles west of Grand Cayman moving west-northwest at about 15mph, the storm intensified to a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of 75mph.

While power was out across the island, CUC reported that as at 8am there was no significant damage to its generation plant or feeders that serve the districts of George Town and West Bay. George Town was also able to keep its water on. Once conditions were deemed safe, CUC said it would begin inspection of the damage to determine the restoration times and advise customers. CUC said restoring power to critical services would be its priority. People were urged to report any downed power lines as they see them.

Government offices remained closed Wednesday as did banks, with only Government workers undertaking emergency jobs in office, while the National Emergency Operations Committee began working overnight Tuesday to coordinate emergency operations. The Cayman Islands Regiment was required to be deployed in order to evacuate some West Bay residents whose homes had been hit by the storm.

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