Premier's Statement on Hurricane Irma
While the Cayman Islands so far remain spared by the wrath of the storms raging around the region, we watch with anguish the unfolding scenes of devastation being wrought by Hurricane Irma in the eastern and northern Caribbean.
This is one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic and, at a Category 5, smashed into the Leeward Islands last night (Tuesday, 5 September 2017). Irma barrelled past the Virgin Islands and pummelled Puerto Rico today, and is projected to head north of Hispaniola. The storm then looks set to go over Turks and Caicos, and hit The Bahamas before possibly making landfall in Florida at the weekend.
In its wake, the storm is leaving a path of destruction and damage that will likely rack into billions of dollars.
While some islands now begin to pick up the pieces after the storm moves west, others are hunkering down to brace for the worst. Our hearts go out to those who have already been affected by Irma and we pray for those who are waiting for the worst.
Of course, we must not forget all the people in Texas who are still reeling from Hurricane Harvey which hit the state less than two weeks ago. The Cayman Islands has strong links with that area, many people have family in cities such as Port Arthur, which was badly affected by the storm.
Earlier today, I met Her Excellency the Governor and her staff, the Deputy Governor, Minster for Home Affairs, Hon. Tara Rivers, Hazard Management and other government officials to discuss and assess the situation regarding Hurricane Irma. The Governorís Office is in regular contact with the crisis command centre in London and we are being updated as the situation unfolds. We will issue details of how people can help once conditions on the ground become clearer.
Iíve also spoken to some of my fellow Overseas Territory Heads of Government and assured them of our thoughts and prayers, as well as our commitment to supporting them in the wake of the storm.
In the meantime, I am pleased to say that the British naval ship RFA Mounts Bay is in the region and on its way to assist UK Overseas Territories in need. The ship was in the Cayman islands only a matter of weeks ago conducting hurricane-relief exercises, so the scenarios that they played out on Seven Mile Beach will now play an essential part in relief efforts.
Having experienced Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Paloma in 2008, we in the Cayman Islands know only too well the horror of a major storm and its aftermath.
And although it looks as though we may be spared the impact of Irma, we must remain vigilant and be prepared at all times during hurricane season. Please, make your hurricane plan and preparations, if you have not already done so. If you need further information on how to get ready, visit www.caymanprepared.ky.
We continue to pray for Godís blessings on our regional neighbours and our beloved Cayman Islands during the remaining hurricane season.
For further information contact: Catherine MacGillivray