Children remain without power in Shedden standoff

For two months, 13 Cayman Islands government agencies have been meeting to discuss a public health issue – the Ebola virus – that is, in fact, not yet an actual issue in any country in the Americas except for the United States, where three cases were diagnosed weeks ago.

Nevertheless, we hear, Cayman has 500 hazmat suits and a field hospital on order … just in case.

Compare our public officials’ proactive, and very public, response to vague Ebola fears with their non-response to an ongoing, on-the-ground situation that is well within their power to resolve. We speak, of course, of the continuing standoff on Shedden Road by some two dozen recalcitrant residents, including the five children of missing landfill worker Anna Evans, who continue to ignore a court order to leave the property.

Their home has no electricity. There is no water. Bulldozers and police officers loom. Yet the children, inexplicably, remain there, living in what can only be described as third-world squalid conditions.

If it requires coordination from 13 agencies to address precisely zero Ebola cases, how many agencies does it require to address the situation on Shedden Road?

Why have these agencies engaged in “willful blindness” while this situation has been festering for years? Where are representatives, and results, from law enforcement, social services, child welfare, planning, public health, and, importantly, code enforcement, for starters?

Last week, we were told by Ms. Evans’s sister Noreen Dixon, who is now the caretaker of the children, that Children and Family Services had secured them a rental home in Bodden Town. Now she says that plan has fallen through, and they won’t be moving into that home.

And so, this sorry saga continues…

17 COMMENTS

  1. I have a feeling that this situation is going to eventually get very ugly. That is the reason why we are not hearing very much about it from our elected representatives.

    The reality here is that most of these people have found themselves with very few options and the alternative for them, living on the street, is much worse than simply standing their ground for as long as possible.

  2. Finally you got it! You finally saw living, breathing human beings suffering, not just dots on a map. I thought I was the only one having compassion to these people.

  3. My question is this, how many situations like this have we had on the Island? None that I can recall.
    Another question is, does any of the occupants work.
    If there is a no answer to both questions, then we have a serious problem which needs to be fixed ASAP.
    Even if the answer is yes then I would say again it is falling on the responsibility of us to assist.
    We have Government houses that are not in use, why can’t the Government make some agreement with them to occupy one and pay on a monthly basis. Or could someone arrange a Telethon night whereby people call in and pledge to wards a down payment on a house for them. Maybe what I am saying will be disagreed, however we are going to have to come up with some solution instead of playing the waiting game. Mack Boland is correct, I too see this situation becoming ugly which will effect us all one way or the other..

  4. The saga continues, because we continue to provide an audience. I think this is the least constructive article I have ever read in the Cayman Compass. We need to be crystal clear about the facts here. The lack of power, water and bulldozers looming may have occurred only recently, but the occupants knew for several years, what direction the court case was headed in. At any time the occupants could have sought assistance from the appropriate government agency or perused the local housing rent ads for s new home. Had they applied the same determination to seeking a new home, as they are to obstructing the rightful property owner from taking possession, then nobody would be residing in third world conditions. Perhaps government shares some blame, but don’t negate the blood families’ duty of care and personal responsibility. The adults having waited until the 11th hour is a primary cause of their suffering. The adults continue to defy authority, what sort of role models are they? Mack Boland is correct. This situation is headed towards a very ugly conclusion.

    The Government’s response to Ebola should not be a part of this article. I can only think this was done to deliberately obfuscate and inflame reader sentiments. Government should be commended for having a plan in place for once, instead of their normal reactive stance. The ban should include Texas, Ohio and Florida. Ebola may be relatively contained, right now, but Mexico and Belize had very close calls. The disease has no cure and a tremendous mortality rate. We do NOT want it here.

  5. This makes absolutely no since. First of all it proves that as a property owner getting a court order to evict means nothing. And secondly why is family services allowing these children to live there under those conditions insetad of removing them from the situation, are they even going to school ? I would really like to know what happened to the home in Boddentown, is it possible that the owner of that property is looking at this situation and decided it would be best to not take the chance of finding himself in the same situation with tenants who thumb their noses at court orders and just refuse to leave while authorities do nothing about it. This says a lot about property ownership rights in Cayman. If the property was padlocked by court Bailiffs, anyone who removed the locks should now be housed in Northward.

  6. Should have. Would have. Could have. Had they. They’ve brought this on themselves. How do you know what they did or didn’t not? Let’s crucify them now if they did not.
    Lisa Butz, did you walk in their shoes to judge?
    Michael Davis, are you suggesting that these children to be taken from their caretakers therefore inflicting more emotional trauma? How human is that? I got it about property ownership rights and The Law is The Law. The Law is supposed to protect children of Anna Evans. The Law is supposed to guarantee a roof over one’s head. Especially in the country that can afford a billion to go missing. The court order to evict did not take into consideration all circumstances in this case. The human factor to be exact.
    I doubt that the rightful owner of the property would want to see this standoff ending ugly.
    Thank you Compass for this editorial. People first, then money. Always.

  7. It’s a bit absurd that the Editorial Board would try to use the response to the Ebola situation to be critical of government agencies handling of a completely unrelated matter. I’m sure that if there was no Ebola response plan in place, and God forbid one case reached these shores, this same editorial board would be the first on the bandwagon to condemn every member of the Government for their tardiness. I’m in no way suggesting that the plight of these children is not a major matter, but as this paper has already reported numerous times, help was provided by the relevant Government Agency. The fact that it has fallen through (the paper conveniently didn’t not elaborate on why…) should not be used as a basis to be critical of the response to Ebola. Very sensational..but I guess that’s why its an editorial and not ‘news’.

  8. Somehow I’m getting the feeling that these people may have burnt their own bridges for any other possible opportunities with future potential landlords.

    And when family services tries to find accommodation for these people, I believe that landlords could be turning them down in a subtle way because they just don’t want or trust them?

    However I’m not so sure If this is truly the case or not, after all this is just purely my own speculation.

  9. Comparing to the Ebola response is appropriate to emphasize priorities. Excessive response to a potential threat, vs. no response to the actual case of human suffering.

  10. L. Bell, I noticed that you are very quick to judge in your own way as well. Nobody is crucifying these poor people, I am sure that everyone’s heart goes out to them. But the fact remains that they are occupying private property illegally. And remember there are more people involved then the family with the children. If this was you’re property and you had been trying to get possession of it for years I am sure you would feel differently. This is not something that was dropped on these folks all of a suddenly they had representation in court years ago and have had years to prepare for this. You mentioned having a telethon to raise money for a down payment on a home for them so my question for you would be who will pay the mortgage and finance the continued maintenance of this home. You also should be prepared to do the same for thousands of other people that will look at this situation and say well why not me I have children. It is a sad state of affairs that these people find themselves in but there’s already government agency’s where they can seek assistance. You seem to feel very strongly about them which I respect, have you considered opening up your home to them until they can find somewhere else to live or do you feel that the owner of this property should bear the financial burden, because it’s very easy to say what someone else should do when you’re not the one bearing the financial burden and strain on your own family.

    Also, Contrary to what you say the law is not supposed to guarantee a roof over ones head but they are supposed to protect these children which right now they are not doing by allowing then to be exposed to this situation. This is a volatile situation that is building and they should be removed and placed somewhere safe until it is sorted out.

    As for as the court order taking into consideration the circumstances, I am sure they did and the circumstances are that you a have a piece of privately owned land being occupied by a family illegally and there are children in the home living without the basic living needs.

    Miss Bell I can understand your emotional response to this very sad situation but can you imagine what would happen if the law says that you can’t evict someone that has children? People all over would just stop paying their rent. I am also sure the owner didn’t want the situation to come to this which is why he has most likely been patient for years.

  11. @ Ms. Bell, I didn’t click thumbs down on any of your comments, but I will respond.

    We have an overabundance of misplaced sympathy in this country. Now, whenever a criminal comes before the court, there is a social inquiry report attempting to release him from culpability. We are expected to feel sympathy, because someone is unemployed, because they use drugs, or because they were neglected as children, and left to be raised by someone other than their parents. Invariably, the judge even says that they are awarding a low sentence due to mitigating factors.

    We used to teach people that life deals us unfair situations. People were taught to use setbacks as fuel to propel them into a better life. Watch the true story Homeless to Harvard or read Judge Mathis’ autobiography.

    Once upon a time it would have been unthinkable for a self respecting, god fearing Caymanian to illegally occupy someone else’s property and obstruct their efforts to reclaim it. Now, because of shifting societal attitudes, everyone feels entitled to avoid responsibility.

    We are supposed to feel sympathy, because their homes will be bulldozed. We are not supposed to point out that it is not actually their property, and that, after unfavorable legal action, they are resorting to crime and making excuses.

    By remaining on a property to which they have no legal right, by making signs telling the judge to dig a hole, by removing court placed locks and running generators in lieu of a CUC meter box-these people are not providing a standard of care for their children, nor are they good role models.

    I don’t have to walk in their shoes to know this. I merely have to track the observable behavior. Court cases do not happen in a vacuum. All of the parties are notified and given time to prepare and submit evidence. How can you say the court order did not take into account all of the circumstances of the case? Were you on the jury, or a legal team? The human factor is not a rule of law. The law does not guarantee a roof over our heads. Plenty of Caymanians are foreclosed.

    If you believe it should be people first and money second, then why not offer to cosign a lease for the affected people? Only imagine the type of home they could afford with actual help for their human suffering. You could partner with Twyla Vargas and help her fund raise.

  12. Lets not get that finger pointing going…it is you that is wrong…back and forth.
    I expressed my opinion,I support this editorial. I see innocent children suffering,others see money being lost. I am bewildered by the community’s response in this predominately Christian country.

  13. Miss Bell, I am sure everyone here’s see the suffering of these children. I would like to hear your opinion on why they are suffering and what you would suggest be done. I am asking because I am trying very hard to understand your position on this.

  14. A question: Where are all the churches and church organizations in this family tragedy? There seems to be a church on every corner in this country dedicated to the ideals of Christianity and yet…..

  15. Mr Bob I support your comments, and I am a woman who will speak truth and facts. The Lord is my shepherd and I am a sheep of his pasture and I do agree that Churches can do more, considering the many we have here. I however lay the blame at the feet of Immigration and our Governments. They all know what is taking place in the name of Church, but not one of them will put legislation in place to change anything.

  16. Twyla, Can you elaborate a little on your comments. In particular what Immigration has to do with this situation as well as about what’s taking place in the name of Church.

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