Little Cayman fights back

Electricity has been returned to most of Little Cayman but the southeast part of the island remains blocked off from vehicle access in the wake of Hurricane Gustav.

Residents met at the Hungry Iguana Restaurant Sunday evening to discuss what needs to be done to return the island to normal.

‘I think we will be close to being back to normal by the end of the week, but it depends on what you call normal,’ said Ms Carrie Manfrino, head of Little Cayman’s Central Caribbean Marine Institute.

‘We are not going to have docks and its going to be a couple of months before people completely rebuild,’ she said.

Ms Manfrino said Gustav had ripped gutters from CCMI’s home on the north side of the island and had damaged one of its vehicles.

‘Power poles were just snapped like toothpicks,’ she said.

Peter Hillenbrand, owner of the Southern Cross Club, passed out the storm at his house on the south side of the island.

‘It was kind of frightening and a very vulnerable feeling,’ he said. ‘The home vibrated and shook for three to four hours on Friday night and that is a pretty scary feeling but everything held together and no-one was hurt on the island so we are very fortunate.’

The Southern Cross Club buildings suffered only cosmetic damage, he said, but both of the hotel’s docks were destroyed and a dive boat is now decorating Mr. Hillenbrand’s front yard.

Power was returned to the north-west area of the island Saturday evening and by Monday, most customers on Little Cayman had electricity returned.

Mr. Hillenbrand and Ms Manfrino both had warm words for work crews from Cayman Brac Power and Light and Caribbean Utilities Company that have been working around-the-clock to return services.

‘Given that we lost something like 30 power poles, I think it is phenomenal that the crews got that much electricity to us. It’s just a superhuman effort on their part.’

Mr. Hillenbrand said spirits on the islands are high despite the damage Gustav brought.

‘It’s very positive. The community on Little Cayman – both Caymanian and expat – is very close and we work together and get along very well and we support each other when events like this happen … We all come together and get back up.’

Ms Manfrino said residents had been comforted by the presence of British Royal Navy warships that arrived on Cayman Brac shortly after the storm passed.

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