From pizza to plywood

I survived Hurricane Ivan and today can give thanks to the Almighty and say I am blessed.

Immediately after the hurricane everyone was seen giving thanks and being together as one. I had the opportunity to observe poor people feeding, clothing and sheltering the rich.

But as time passed on I saw everyone changing that oneness and becoming selfish, uncaring and greedy.

You were not daring to make a phone call to some offices more than once or the receptionist would practically bite your head off.


As usual, I am going to be very down to earth in expressing myself or voicing my concerns. I do believe that’s my democratic right.

This letter is mainly to voice my concerns about the way some building contractors are, in no uncertain terms, ripping off people who are repairing their roofs or rebuilding.

These so called contractors who are being contracted to rebuild using the monies from grants for roofs and other repairs are a disappointment.

It is absolutely amazing and questionable how these persons are allowed to get a contractor’s license. Most of these contractors are married to Caymanians or have Cayman Status and before Hurricane Ivan they were cooks, barbers, gardeners or pot washers.

After Ivan, everybody suddenly became roofers and obtained contractor’s licences to rebuild people’s roof and homes when some of them don’t know the difference between a slice of pizza and a sheet of plywood.

These so-called contractors are collecting the down payments on half the funds granted to do repairs, purchasing damaged materials from overseas and charging a fortune.

I have seen certain contractors completing repairs of small homes. They are only changing a few sheets of zinc, not the rafters. Replacing mould sheet rock with damaged sheet rock and charging $10,000 and $15,000.

I have observed these so-called contractors putting on people’s roofs and not putting proper strapping or reinforcement to the rafters and scattering the nailing of the shingles; leaving spaces and using left overs fro one job to another.

Some contractors are doing quick, cheap jobs and even putting sheetrock nails in plywood.

Now, if we are not careful when Ivan’s sister makes a visit we will once again be looking up at the clear blue sky. Some of these contractors should be investigated.

I don’t know how they can obtain a licence when they don’t know pizza from plywood.

I don’t see why they are not asked to take a test to obtain a licence, the same way that an electrician or plumber has to take a test before they get a licence.

Most poor persons are so eager to have their roofs put back on that they are not paying attention to what is being done.

Not only the poor, but the rich are also being undermined and over charged. I have always heard that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

I do hope those in authority will look into the granting of these licences to every Tom, Dick and Harry.

I must acknowledge certain persons like Mr. Ludlow Buckridge and Mr. Burt Foster who are doing an excellent job and are responsible for inspecting the negligence of these so-called contractors. Of course praise, too, should be given where it is deserved for a better Cayman.

Twyla Mae Vargas

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