Bush wants UK aid

Government will today dispatch a letter to the UK, again seeking assistance for hurricane recovery of the Cayman Islands.

Reinforced by an Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean study totalling Cayman’s hurricane damage in the billions, Cabinet yesterday gave approval for the letter that will be sent to Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Bill Rammell.

‘The letter will be pointing to the ECLAC report and asking for the assistance that they indicated should be coming out after this report is done,’ Leader of Government Business told the Caymanian Compass yesterday.

The assessment by the UN, ECLAC, found $2.8 billion in direct and indirect losses and determined that external assistance is needed to help Cayman recover.

‘There is an immediate short term liquidity problem facing the economy that, if left unattended may lead to an undesirable instability in Cayman’s fundamentally sound and dynamic economy,’ the ECLAC team concluded. ‘To face this, the Government requires external assistance. The Cayman Islands Government cannot face this task with its existing resources.’

As he tabled the ECLAC report in the Legislative Assembly Monday, Mr. Bush reminded the House that when he led a three-person delegation to London to plead Cayman’s case after the hurricane, the British Government requested a comprehensive assessment before any assistance package is offered.

‘I will be calling on the United Kingdom Government in the next week to discuss this most important conclusion with them. I do believe that time has come. The UK now must understand what our need truly is …. As I’ve said in the House before, the UK Government have time yet to redeem themselves,’ Mr. Bush said.

He added yesterday, ‘This report makes clear in absolute terms, this is the time to act’.

Of the total $2.8 billion in damage and losses, the social sector accounted for $1.5 billion with housing being affected to the tune of $1.4 billion. The damage and loss figure for the productive sectors totalled $931,400, and the area of commerce led the way with $463, 4000, closely followed by tourism at $462,400.

Road transport led the way as the damage and loss leader in the category of infrastructure with $194,900. The total for infrastructure damage and losses was $407,000.

ECLAC described the challenge of overcoming these figures as daunting.

‘There is an immediate need for funds in the short term to face the reconstruction tasks,’ the report read.

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