Facts on disaster relief

In regards to the matter raised in the Legislative Assembly recently by the Leader of the Opposition regarding an additional outlay of some $1.5million to Bodden Town District for hurricane relief, I wish to outline the following facts:

Since the establishment of the District Assistance Fund by Government to assist needy within the various Island Districts, the following is a total outlay [as at March 2006]:

West Bay CI$1,127,338

North Side CI$152,012

George Town CI$2,226,454

East End CI$150,294

Bodden Town CI$2,399,556

Cayman Brac/ Little Cayman CI$50,000

Total outlay is CI$6,140,000

2. While I agree that Bodden Town could use some additional funds, I would mention that currently, at the request of the Leader of Government Business D. Kurt Tibbetts, the Bodden Town District Assistance Fund, of which I have been pleased to be its chairman since the PPM government came into effect, is about to embark on a study of the Central Bodden Town area to locate and identify any remaining projects or those in need of financial assistance.

Once his report is prepared, this will be the basis upon which any further funds will be allocated to the Bodden Town district. This is a proper way of approaching the matter, as it is a known fact that during the time of the UDP administration, especially leading up to the May 2005 General Elections, these district assistance funds were allocated on the basis of vote buying and party affiliation.

3. By applying this yard-stick, funds were even allocated during this time to the rebuilding of business premises in the Bodden Town district at least.

These funds were always designed to only assist families and other individuals who were in dire need of regaining their self esteem after the passage of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.

4. What is also of note is that as at March 2006, West Bay still has an unspent balance of CI$136,182 in the district assistance fund and yet I continue to receive frequent calls from West Bay senior citizens asking me to assist them as they hear that the Bodden Town district fund is as they say getting things done. I have referred at least two such families to their respective West Bay MLA’s and have even volunteered to assist them in completing the treasury request form if they are not familiar with it in order to bring some needy relief to these most needy West Bay seniors. To date, I am not sure if they have received such assistance from their West Bay MLA’s in completing these forms. But funds are in fact still available. Only action is needed and they are not seemingly getting it.

5. Since assuming the Chairmanship of the Bodden Town District Assistance Fund, the PPM Government has approved an additional outlay for the Bodden Town District of CI$510,000 and these funds have been disbursed to many BT households to either do outright home rebuilds, purchase needy furniture and appliances and or other pressing needs. Anyone is free to ask within the BT District and they will readily find out that since the PPM government and since my chairmanship, no political affiliation or vote buying has been applied. We have in-fact applied only one rule- if you are in need, irregardless of who you are or who you voted for, we will assist you. Everyone who we have assisted since June 2005, is happy and in-deed they have all signed a release letter, where home rebuilding is involved, stating that they are happy with the work and that they are in favour of the builder receiving his/ their final cheque.

6. Yes, Bodden Town can use some more funds but I am certain that when the committee does its review and prepares the requested report, whatever has been identified as still remaining to assist the good people of Bodden Town will be forthcoming from this PPM government.

George R. Ebanks: Chairman – Bodden Town District Assistance Fund

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