Drivers heed Ivan’s lessons

A bit of common sense took hold of many drivers on Grand Cayman this past weekend, creating new and innovative car parks.

The approach of Hurricane Emily spawned large, instant gatherings of cars at various locations in George Town over the weekend; the most notable of which was on the Linford Pierson Highway where cars engulfed the roundabout portion on Bobby Thompson Way.

‘I thought it was great. People used their senses to protect themselves. They put their experience from Ivan into action,’ said National Hurricane Committee Chairman Mr. Donovan Ebanks.

‘In Ivan, it became apparent that losses were great and not having a car was inconvenient. People had to try to make sure their conveniences remained in place. They were forced to do everything in their power to make sure their vehicles were protected,’ said Mr. Carl Brown, manager of the insurance firm British Caymanian.

No action was taken by the police. It was considered a private matter handled by private citizens.

Mr. Ebanks saw the gatherings as a welcome sign of the level of knowledge everyone has gained from Hurricane Ivan.

‘I did not expect any great storm surge. But people were applying their knowledge gained from Ivan. It was really a good thing to see.’

Mr. Brown saw how people were able to recognize the magnitude of the situation and respond in the best way possible.

‘The Linford Pierson Roundabout has long been known to be on high ground. I think it was wise and prudent of the public to seek refuge there and the private property owners must be congratulated. I think it was also good that some government agencies sought to protect themselves as some provide essential services.

‘Everyone is trying all they can to protect their assets; else it would be a dereliction of personal duty. It’s natural and it’s good that they [the public] sought to protect themselves.’

Mr. Brown said there was great fear about the possibility of another hurricane assaulting Cayman among residents.

‘Based on the inquiries I was made aware of, there was serious concern that we might be hit again. People did not want a replication of Ivan.

‘There was lots of last minute checking to make sure that people were fully insured.’

Mr. Brown said that in spite of the approach of another hurricane, most people he knew of were not fully insured.

‘I would not say that most of the clients I know of are fully insured. The majority of the fully insured were company vehicles. Commercial vehicles were also heavily insured.

‘Insurance has a cost like everything else. The people that did not have full insurance would have had to deal with self-insured losses because they would have to cover losses.’

Both men also gave their opinions on the possibility of forming a national site for holding public cars for future storms.

‘One could take that action. But what would you do with it afterwards? It would be hard to find any one location. But don’t get me wrong, there are some places that come to mind such as the Agricultural Grounds,’ said Mr. Ebanks.

Mr. Ebanks describes the possible use of the grounds as a car park. He suggested that it could continue to be used as the site for the agricultural show. Then with the permission of the land-owners, it could be a temporary location for cars to be held at the approach of storms.

‘Ideally, I would expect in the future to see some areas, not being used frequently, as places to put cars, with the agreement of the landowners of course. But I think Government can’t afford to keep a national car park for just storms.

‘I also think that the public can use the knowledge they already have. People have a great amount of knowledge as to where the high ground is in Cayman. That is knowledge and experience for the public to pass on to other people new to the island.’

Mr. Brown viewed the idea with great optimism and saw potential for other avenues to be explored.

‘Personally, the long-term view must be of protecting mobility. There should be a site that is protected as much as can be,’ he said.

‘I certainly support the idea of a national car park. I think there needs to be an extensive capital development plan for the next 10 years. Cayman is quite the testing ground for flooding and inundation. Maybe GM [General Motors] or Honda could come here to develop cars to withstand conditions here.

‘Caymanians are resilient people. I think we can turn our calamities into opportunities.’