Today’s Editorial for September 11: Trailers going to a good cause

We have long advocated for the Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer homes to be removed from the Cayman Islands.

And now some finally are.

But they’re not going back to the United States. Instead they will be sent to Cuba to help people in that country recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

It’s good to know that the trailers, which have been sitting empty on Grand Cayman, are going to be put to good use.

It would be even better if we could send all of the FEMA trailers off Grand Cayman.

It is a shame that we still have people living in the trailers, which were brought to the Cayman Islands in early 2005 as temporary housing for folks who lost their homes in Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Government promised us then that the trailers would be gone within 24 months. Plans to get rid of the trailers were dashed in June 2006 because people were still living in them.

Today and tomorrow mark the fourth anniversary of the passing of Hurricane Ivan and we still have people living in temporary trailers that wouldn’t stand up to any hurricane with winds higher than 75 miles an hour.

In fact, those who are still living in trailers must evacuate to shelters when a major hurricane threatens. Those who refuse are made to sign waivers agreeing that they are putting themselves and those living with them in harm’s way.

Before the temporary housing was allowed in the Cayman Islands, trailers were illegal for living quarters because they are, by nature, unsafe.

It was a good solution for the Cayman Islands following Hurricane Ivan, but Government should have kept its word and gotten rid of the trailers when it said it would; not allow them to continue to be used for housing.

But fortunately for people in Cuba, we still have some of the trailers here and can offer them our assistance with the temporary housing.

We hope the Cuban government finds ways to quickly rebuild solid homes for those who seek temporary refuge in the trailers and don’t keep them on as permanent housing.

While our Government is doing what it can to offer aid to Cuba and Turks and Caicos, a couple of groups on Grand Cayman have rallied to collect food, clothing, bedding, toiletries and other items for refugees in Cuba.

If you need to clean out your closets, now is a good time to do so and send needed items to those whose lives have been uprooted by the recent storms.

Phone numbers for more information are 916-2969, 517-7236 and 947-1963.

These people are our neighbours and some are family. We should reach out to them and help as much as we can in their hour of need.