Today’s Editorial, July 20: Plan for aid welcomed

There’s more welcome news coming out of the new Cayman Islands Hurricane Plan.

It has to do with international aid coming into the Cayman Islands following any disaster, but specifically hurricanes.

While Government did the best it could to mete out international aid that came here following Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, not everyone received what they needed.

The new policy has been drafted to ensure an accounting and initial distribution procedure that accounts for all goods received and distributes those goods in a system that is fair, impartial and to those who need it most.

All of us who were here during and shortly after Ivan know of stories of goods being sent to the Cayman Islands that were distributed unequally.

There were charges of cronyism in aid distribution and no way to account for what was coming in and being distributed.

In fact Government is still waiting on those who took Government generators and chainsaws to return them.

Government can’t go collect them because it isn’t sure who has them.

To help ensure aid items like generators and chainsaws go back to the lending agency – the Government in this case – inventory control points will be set up at Owen Roberts International Airport and at the Port facility in George Town.

The system will be used to record all incoming goods and assemble them at main distribution areas.

Another plus of the new plan is that it will help us tell international aid providers exactly what we need.

When asked after Hurricane Ivan, all we could say is we need a lot. We didn’t know exactly what had come in and what was needed.

Having a plan in place like this one also ensures a quicker response from international aid givers. They’ll know that we are using the aid responsibly.

A computer system will be put in place to keep a perpetual inventory that will update the stores of goods as they come in and go out.

If the computers don’t work after a disaster, there is a manual backup to the system.

Government is to be commended for coming up with a viable plan to handle international aid.

We all heard horror stories after Hurricane Katrina devastated the United States Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Mississippi of aid not reaching the people with the most need.

Such a plan also helps to ensure that we don’t experience the fraud, waste and schemes that surrounded Hurricane Katrina Aid. Bureaucratic bungles in the US after Katrina cost taxpayers a cool $2 billion.

Hopefully the United States, like the Cayman Islands, learned a big lesson when it comes to aid following a disaster.

Our Government has addressed the problems we perceived after Ivan and now have a good, viable plan. We can only pray that the leaders to the north of us in the United States are just as wise.

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