Today’s Editorial: Our brother’s keeper?

There was a collective sigh of relief Sunday when it became clear that Hurricane Emily had spared the Cayman Islands.

Our Caribbean neighbour Grenada, however, was not so lucky.

Blasted by Hurricane Ivan last year, Grenada took another terrible hit from Emily.

The country suffered widespread damage at a time when it was still struggling to recover from Ivan.

It should not be difficult for the people of the Cayman Islands to imagine the hardships many people in Grenada now face.

If a category 4 or 5 hurricane had hit us, we might well have found ourselves back to the state we were in the day after Ivan – or worse.

It is possible that we are more vulnerable now than ever due to some homes with repairs still incomplete, piles of debris still present, and degraded tree and mangrove barriers; items that diminish winds and sea surge.

Grenada, sadly, has had to face this nightmare scenario and now must work hard to right itself.

We can and should help them recover.

Remember how quick we were to look for help from over the horizon when Hurricane Ivan battered our society?

Grenada is a poor country.

According to the CIA Worldbook, Grenada’s per capita income is just US$5,000, ranking them 131st in the world.

Compare that with our per capita income of US$32,300 (11th in the world). Yes, we are small; yes we have our own challenges.

Nevertheless, we have the ability to provide some assistance to a neighbour in need.

A UNICEF report indicates that Grenada’s housing and agriculture sector have suffered severe setbacks. Emily’s price tag of destruction in Grenada is estimated at more than US$100 million.

The people of Grenada need the world’s help, and we are part of the world.

In the hours and days immediately following Hurricane Ivan’s visit to Cayman last September, there was an outpouring of community spirit and goodwill here.

Yes, there were looters, but the bad intentions of some soon were overwhelmed by the good of the majority in that crucial period.

The people of Cayman were there for their neighbours before, during and after Ivan.

Now we must be there for our neighbours again. Only this time our friends in need are not next door or down the street, but across the Caribbean Sea.

Let us do the right thing and be there for them.

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