Prince Edward to visit next month

The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, will visit the Cayman Islands next month to inspect damage from Hurricane Paloma on Cayman Brac.

The prince will spend just one day in the Cayman Islands, flying directly to the Brac before coming to Grand Cayman to present Duke of Edinburgh Awards at Government House on 5 February.

The visit is part of a week-long trip to the Caribbean in early February which will also include stops in the Bahamas, Jamaica and Barbados.

It will be his fourth trip to Cayman in five years.

Alan Drury, acting head of the Governor’s Office said: ‘The plan is he will go over to Cayman Brac to have a look at the hurricane damage and talk to some of the people about that.

‘Then he will come over here around lunchtime and there will be a Duke of Edinburgh Awards presentation at Government House where he will present bronze and silver awards.’

More details of the prince’s trip have yet to be finalised.

An advance team from Buckingham Palace arrived in Cayman this week, visiting Cayman Brac on Tuesday and yesterday (Wednesday) meeting with officials from the Governor’s office.

Clean up by a large Department of Environmental Health team following November’s hurricane was suspended last month after a fire destroyed the island’s debris grinder. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but while fire investigators assessed whether it was accidental or deliberate, Minister Arden McLean announced he was pulling the clean-up crews from the island for their own safety.

By this week, the crews had still not returned to the island.

Cayman Brac district commissioner Ernie Scott said the prince would see the island still in clean-up and recovery mode when he visits.

‘We don’t intend to make a lot of change in our current efforts in terms of slowing down or speeding up because of his visit. We are just continuing with the clean-up operations. Based on the timing, we certainly won’t have advanced by then to the stage of being totally recovered,’ Mr. Scott said.

He said the removal of the DEH teams had made a significant impact on clean-up operations, but stressed that ongoing work by Public Works and the District Office meant the clean-up had not ground to a halt.

A spokeswoman for DEH said regular staff working on residential and commercial waste removal were working on the Brac, but the teams sent specifically to work on the post-hurricane clean-up had not returned so far this new year. She added that they were awaiting word from the Ministry on when they could return there.

Mr. McLean did not respond by press time to questions on when the DEH clean-up operation would restart.