Today’s Editorial November 07: Ability to communicate

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

That’s exactly what the Cayman Islands has done since Hurricane Ivan hit in September 2004.

Hurricane Committee members and Government took a bad situation, examined it and developed strategies to be more effective in any future generations.

One of the things we got out of it was an in-depth plan to help all of us deal with any future hurricanes or disasters.

And part of that plan addresses communication.

Those of us who were in the Cayman Islands while Ivan was blowing its fury remember how frustrating it was not to be able to make telephone calls or hear Government announcements via radio or television.

Rumours of death and destruction were rampant. Once communication systems had been restored, we realised most of those horrific stories we had heard via the Marl Road just weren’t true.

Lack of communication wasn’t just a problem for residents.

It was also a problem for the outside world where concerned people were trying to make contact.

The Director of Communications with the Caribbean Tourism Organization Johnson Johnrose felt the frustration of trying to find out Cayman’s status first-hand.

He couldn’t find one person who could tell him what was going on in the Cayman Islands and how we were coping.

Standing at the ready to deliver supplies to Cayman was Princess Cruise and Cunard Lines, but they too couldn’t communicate with us.

Hurricane Ivan was one of those events that teach life lessons.

And what the Cayman Islands learned was that it needed a Joint Communications Services team, which will agree on the message that will be sent to international partners.

We all learned that right after Hurricane Ivan there was a huge demand for information. The Joint Communications Services team will ensure that information gets out and that media briefings are held as quickly as possible.

We’ve been fortunate that we haven’t had to put into motion the services of the team or any other of the ideas in the national hurricane plan.

But if disaster strikes again we can take comfort in knowing that measures are in place to help us recover quickly.

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