This weekend marks the six-year
anniversary of Hurricane Ivan’s devastating pass by Grand Cayman.
For those who were here to
experience the frightening storm and the difficult weeks and months afterwards,
it is something that won’t be forgotten.
Interestingly, many people who went
through Ivan and the recovery period can now look back on it with almost a
sense of nostalgia. It’s not the unpleasantness of the experience that people
want to remember, but the fortitude we all had to have to get through the
ordeal and the spirit of cooperativeness that existed for a while afterwards.
Ivan dissolved a lot of differences
between people. It destroyed the houses
and cars of the rich and poor alike.
People were no longer Caymanians or expats, PPM supporters or UDP
supporters, Christians or non-Christians, because everyone was in the same
boat. We were all just people sharing
the experience of a common adversity, and therefore the various ways we differentiate
ourselves from others in normal times faded away.
Goodwill was seen everywhere as
residents who experienced less damage helped their fellow human beings who were
Looking at many stewing animosities
in the Cayman community now, it would probably be difficult for someone who
wasn’t here after Ivan to believe people were really that nice to one another.
Maybe that’s why those who were can look back at the time wistfully.
These days, we have to witness
deplorable acts of cruelty from too many people. We see dogs getting purposely poisoned; we
see inflatable rafts of a watersports business purposely punctured; we see
almost senseless robberies and burglaries, acts of vandalism, acts of violence
and inexcusably rude behaviour on the roads and in public places.
Perhaps this is all a result of the
economic recession, but in the immediate aftermath of Ivan, many people here
were probably in worse financial shape than they are right now.
Despite the nostalgic feelings some
may have, no one wants to experience a hurricane like Ivan again. It would be
nice; however, if we could return to a time of respect and concern for our
fellow man, but it shouldn’t take a hurricane to get there.