Ministry gives charity $1.5M to repair damaged homes

| 03/02/2022 | 18 Comments

(CNS): Money that was allocated in the 2020/21 budget to repair the homes of those most in need but was not spent has been given to a local charity that is already funding and undertaking numerous projects for Caymanians in need. The social development ministry has given $1.5 million to the R3 Cayman Foundation as a way to get urgent housing repairs underway and create a “valuable partnership” for social development, Minister André Ebanks said.

“Extensive damage to a significant number of homes arose from, or was exacerbated by, Storm Grace in mid-August 2021, affecting many Caymanians who lack the financial wherewithal to fund these repairs,” he said in a release announcing the whopping donation.

“The high volume of 2021 outstanding housing repairs requires additional resources, and with this donation, they can be delivered through the expertise and efficiency of the voluntary sector with the aim to clear as much of the backlog as possible before the commencement of the 2022 hurricane season.”

The R3 Cayman Foundation was established during the COVID-19 lockdown with CI$1 million donated by Dart. At the time the billionaire developer said he would match all other donations, which means that the ministry’s cash will be turned into $3 million.

The public money will be used to carry out the identified housing repairs for those who fit specific eligibility criteria, including priority given to Caymanians who are over age 60, disabled or vulnerable and low-income families with children. The matched funds will be used by R3 on other social development needs in the community.

“As a non-profit entity it has demonstrated that it operates with the highest standards of professionalism and accountability,” Ebanks said. “The investment of these funds is a tangible demonstration of government’s commitment to advancing social development for people in the Cayman Islands, and we are delighted that R3 Cayman Foundation shares our vision.”

Eric Bush, the chief officer in the ministry, who although embroiled in the recent overseas office scandal is still in post, said that since Tropical Storm Grace in mid-August last year, the government’s Housing Repair Programme received hundreds of requests. Over 40 homes have been repaired by the ministry, and while it will continue to carry out this urgently needed work, R3 will also be using the public cash to repair even more.

Bryan Hunter, Chair of R3 Cayman Foundation, said the charity will carry out the housing repairs programme and donate money to Resilience Cayman, which R3 has supported in the past in relation to their food, utilities and rent support programmes.

He also noted that R3 has policies and procedures in place to ensure that the non-profit organisations it funds are well run with strong financials and governance standards and will provide the appropriate oversight in relation to large donations such as the one in this case.

Hunter said the generous donation from the Cayman Islands Government in support of the housing repairs programme fell within R3’s readiness and relief objectives, in that its aim is to repair homes that have been damaged by a tropical storm or hurricane or to repair homes that are in such a state of disrepair that they are unlikely to withstand a future tropical cyclone.

“We are also delighted to provide a series of donations amounting to the $1.5m donation to Resilience Cayman and to work with them to ensure that this programme is carried out efficiently and effectively,” he added.

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Category: Community, Local News

Comments (18)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I hope it is better organized, and decentralized it been quite sometime waiting for our homes to be repaired.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m no rocket scientist but why doesn’t the government simply provide insurance for these homes during hurricane season? Why let them ride a storm and then spend millions to fix them? The bare minimum for our seniors who can’t afford it would be to provide insurance for the duration of hurricane season so everything they have worked for isn’t washed away in a bad storm.

  3. Anonymous says:

    That’s just one day of government payroll

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ok..but really tho.
    Why is Cayman so beach-up?!
    Reason #18:
    We bend over backwards for immigrant investors, yet it’s almost impossible and very difficult for someone to leave a property in the name of their own child so they will have ownership when they’re an adult.
    We have no property tax, so why can’t this be made possible for locals to try to pass on a little ownership??

  5. Anonymous says:

    Cayman has become a complete welfare state

    • Anonymous says:

      Unless you’re a rich jerk living on 7 mile or Rum Point, you have much more in common with the poor than you do with the millionaires and billionaires, bobo

      • John says:

        Why do you automatically join “rich” with “jerk”?
        Who do you think donates the most money to our local charities? Charities like Jasmine (Cayman hospice), Red Cross, Cancer Society? Who do you think serves on most of the boards of these charities; without pay of course?

        Of course some rich people are jerks. But so are some middle income and poor people.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The problem is that some of the contractors they hire do terrible work and most time don’t even finish the jobs once they get paid! I know of many elderly people homes that have been half way done!

    • Anonymous says:

      4.04pm And guess where majority of so-called Contractors and their workers are from. As far as I’m concerned anyone born in or descended from certain places should not have a Contractors licence.

      • Anonymous says:

        Tired of seeing shit comments like these. Why stereotype a nationality? I know plently of honest contractors from multiple caribbean islands that do great work and always finish what they start. Knew one ac guy from Honduras who completely messed up my unit slowly over a three year period. Didn’t know I kept calling him back to fix things he caused. I don’t go around saying all Honduran trade workers are scammers. People are people and function based on their moral standards. Stop the stereotyping!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          EXACTLY! The initial statement (4:04pm) was mine, which is FACTS ! I do not condone this sterotyping and infact totally disagree! Most of the cutting corners and crookedness done by our OWN PEOPLE! Foreign contractors in my opinion, for the most part tend to make it a point to do quality work and use good materials as they looking quality/reference/the next job!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Private sector to the rescue!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Dart for your generous donation and those who also contributed. More of this please!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sounds reasonable. Sounds as though the dept is admitting they don’t have the resources to carry out the repairs and instead of sitting on it and leaving those poor people waiting for the next hurricane they have given the funds to a group that can and have the money doubled, surely it’s a win win. And yes to ensure Eric isn’t in charge of those funds anymore has to be a good thing. He needs to move on. I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t support this move. Remember these are funds from the previous administration.

  10. Anonymous says:

    To the R3 Cayman Foundation,

    Thank you for your donation to this worthy cause.

    May I ask Mr. Bryan Hunter to consider funding of an island building inspector for Cayman Brac/Little Cayman.

    At a meeting in the District Administration Building, Cayman Brac in December 2021 their was a unanimous voice from all the contractors/tradesmen at said meeting in which the Minister of Planning agreed to provide a solution. Which has not happened.

    Having been informed at said meeting, by this writer, on how the Planning Minister could be part of the process of reallocating funds during the weekly Cabinet meetings – the Planning Minister continues to lack the resolve to provide proactive solutions to this issue.

    It is only in most recent times that the collective Government has abandoned the Sister Islands when it comes to effective. efficient service of building inspections and planning in general.

    With the onset of Covid-19 this issue has been amplified, as many in Grand Cayman have been buying land and building homes over here – only to experience lengthy and unnecessary delays in the building process.

    Two of us at the meetings committed to help the Planning Ministry to identify qualified candidates who would want to serve full time in the Sister Islands.

    It should be noted that this building inspector could not only be here on island for inspections but could also assist with the back office work (plan reviews) that the current employee at Brac office also does.

    So Mr. Bryan Hunter if you have any interest in helping out Cayman Brac/Little Cayman – I will gladly do whatever I can in conjunction with numerous other contractors/tradesmen.


    Funding is not an Excuse (BTW nice broom closet that you have your Brac employee working in)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Those funds are much better in R3’s hands than in Government’s, especially if Eric Bush is involved. I know some of the people involved in R3 and some community efforts they’re involved in and I applaud them.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Mr. Dart. Government ought to be ashamed for not having already used the money for its intended purpose.

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