Residents in the Sister Islands are pegged to get a special gift this Christmas.
Gift certificates in the amount of $100 will go to each household in Little Cayman and Cayman Brac in an effort to help them recover from Hurricane Paloma.
Pastor Al Ebanks explained the gift certificates will be issued as a part of the Sister Islands Christmas Joy initiative, which will centre on a Christmas party on 18 December on Cayman Brac.
The goal is to raise at least $150,000 that will go toward the gift certificates, which will only be redeemable at businesses on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
‘The objective of this is threefold: help out families in need, to bring a little Christmas cheer to the people affected by Hurricane Paloma, and to help stimulate the economies of the Sister Islands,’ said Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce President Eddie Thompson.
The plan is that each household will receive one numbered certificate for $100 to be spent as they wish at Sister Islands businesses. Each certificate will bear a Chamber seal and require the vendor to sign off on it once it has been used. The vendor then sends the certificate back to the Chamber of Commerce for reimbursement from the fund.
Chamber CEO Wil Pineau noted the initiative is modelled on the Chamber’s successful gun buy-back programme and he’s confident the systems and procedures are in place to ensure certificates are distributed and used fairly.
‘This is a situation where we will be relying on the honesty and integrity of the Sister Islands community,’ said Mr. Thompson.
Mr. Ebanks noted that if each business in the Chamber of Commerce donates $1,000 to the certificate fund, the fundraising goal would be met. So far, he said, approximately $20,000 had already been raised.
If sufficient funds are not raised, Mr. Pineau said the certificates will be allocated to the neediest families.
‘It’s different than other fundraising efforts in that we give power to the recipients of the certificates to use the funds in the way they need the most, whether it’s for food, or for gifts for the children or if it is for repairs,’ said Mr. Ebanks.
He said he hoped the project will be able to at minimum bring a little uplift to the spirits of those affected by Paloma, and show appreciation for the kindness the Sister Islanders showed Grand Cayman residents after Ivan.
A Chamber subcommittee is already working in the Brac, ironing out the details for the certificates and the party to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.
The Chamber has chartered a Cayman Airways jet for the day of the party so that donors may travel to the Brac to take part in the festivities.
For further information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 949-8090.