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Multi-Agency Donation Brings Relief to Bay Islands

Government 20 May, 2024 Follow News

Representatives from the Bay Island Roatan Hospital Relief Committee, MPs, private sector partners and other government officials await departure for Roatan, Honduras to present approximately CI$80k of medical supplies to the people of Honduras. (Credit: Paul Tibbetts)

By: Takiyah Smith

The Cayman Islands Government has provided approximately CI$80k worth of medical supplies to Honduras and the Bay Islands, in response to the devastating fire that consumed the sole public hospital in Roatan on 19 April 2024. The items were hand delivered by and official delegation which comprised of Minister for Health & Wellness Hon. Sabrina Turner, Minister for Tourism & Ports Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Planning, Agriculture, Housing, Infrastructure, Transport and Development Hon. Johany “Jay” Ebanks and MP for West Bay West and Parliamentary Secretary Hon. McKeeva Bush.

The relief effort was spearheaded by the Bay Island Roatan Hospital Relief Committee, a multi-stakeholder body established on April 23, 2024, comprising of representatives from the Cayman Islands Government and the private sector. The committee was chaired by Parliamentary Secretary Bush with the support of Minister Ebanks as Deputy Chair, and was created with the singular objective of providing humanitarian support to the people of Roatan, as well as the surrounding islands of Bonacca and Utila, which also rely on the Roatan Hospital for medical services. “We are deeply thankful to our Government for joining this multi-stakeholder body to provide much-needed help to our brothers and sisters in Honduras”, MP Bush stated.

The donation included a wide gamut of medical supplies, ranging from essentials like sterile gloves, gauze and needles to specialised equipment including incubators, fetal monitors and dopplers. Supplies were sourced from both the Health Services Authority (HSA) and Health City Cayman Islands (HCCI), at a value of approximately CI$56k and CI$30k respectively.

HSA CEO Ms. Lizzette Yearwood said “As healthcare providers, it is in our nature to provide support to those in time of need. To lose the only hospital on Roatan is unfathomable and our thoughts and prayers are with their medical community. We are grateful to be able to donate medical supplies during this loss.” Similar sentiment was expressed by Mr. Shomari Scott, Chief Business Officer for HCCI, stating “Health City is committed to being one of the pillars of support and assistance in times of disaster. When the hospital in Roatan suffered a devastating fire, and the Cayman Islands Government asked, we didn’t hesitate to step up and provide whatever portion of the much-needed medical supplies and resources we could. We are proud to be a part of the Cayman Islands’ medical response and are always ready to play any role necessary.”

Minister Turner expressed her gratitude to all entities involved, saying “I would like to commend MP Bush and the Bay Island Roatan Hospital Committee for their swift response and intent to aid the people of the Bay Islands. I am duly grateful to the HSA and its Board of Directors for granting the request for donations, as well as to HCCI for doing the same. I am proud of our ability to come together as government and civil society to aid the most vulnerable in their time of need. 

Historically linked through seafaring and other forms of industry, the Cayman Islands and Honduras have held a long-standing relationship of diplomacy between one another. “Our response to this disaster in Roatan is a testament to the Cayman Islands’ commitment to regional cooperation and humanitarian support. We worked closely with our partners to provide needed support that addresses the immediate and long-term recovery needs of the people of Roatan, Honduras”, said Minister Ebanks.

Transportation support was provided by the Ministry of Tourism and Cayman Airways, who transported the goods from Grand Cayman to Roatan on a special chartered flight. “It was my pleasure to lend a helping hand in the relief effort for Roatan following the recent devastating fire that destroyed the Bay Islands hospital. In times of crisis, it is heartening to witness the unity and solidarity among Caribbean islands. I am proud that the Cayman Islands could extend support to the people of the Bay Islands during their time of need. This collaborative effort not only underscores the resilience of our region but also reaffirms the bonds of friendship and compassion that unite us’”, stated Minister for Tourism Hon. Kenneth Bryan.

The Cayman Islands Government and its partners remain committed to supporting the recovery and rebuilding efforts in Roatan, ensuring that the affected communities receive the necessary aid and resources to restore their essential healthcare services.

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