HURRICANE DAMAGE AND
CLEANUP continue to dominate Caribbean news, with relief
efforts gaining momentum for the islands most impacted by Hurricane
Ivan and Tropical Storm Jeanne. At midweek, the two latest storms
[Karl and Lisa] did not pose any immediate threats to land, but
Jeanne, although now far east of the Bahamas, seemed unpredictable
and could wobble westward again.
PARTIAL RECAP throughout the region:
Islands. George Town, Grand Cayman, is functioning
again with some electricity running, several banks and gas stations
open, grocery stores stocked and long lines at hardware stores.
Water has been turned on for several hours each day in some parts
of the island. Power and phone service remain out in many parts of
Grand Cayman; and Cayman Airways is running relief flights only
through Sept. 30. Ezzat Coutry, Ritz-Carltons senior vice president
in charge of Caribbean, Florida and Mexico hotels, said the new
Ritz-Carlton on Seven Mile Beach survived intact without a single
window broken. We build our new hotels according to South Florida
building codes established after Hurricane Andrew in 92. The Ritz,
which had a Dec. 14 opening scheduled, has projected a new opening
date of late in the first quarter or the beginning of the second
quarter of 2005, Coutry said. No reopening dates have been
announced by other properties. Relief agencies and drop off points
in New York and Florida for emergency supplies are listed at www.caymanislands.ky; also contributing to the relief
effort is a group on Bonaire -- visit www.bonairetalk.com.
Grenada. Brenda Hood, minister of tourism, reported
that the water supply is 80% restored in the parish of St. Georges,
75% in the parish of St. Patrick, and between 25% and 30% in the
parishes of St. John, St. David and St. Mark. St. Georges, the
capital, has electricity and some phone service, although there is
no phone service elsewhere on the island. Major roads have been
cleared and are open to traffic; some banks and some shops are
open. Cruise lines have been diverted to other destinations. A
dusk-to-dawn curfew remains in effect for security purposes. Point
Salines Airport is open for regional and international flights
between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. BWIA offers flights from New York and
Miami via its Trinidad hub; Air Jamaica resumed all flights via its
Montego Bay, Jamaica, hub and some service from New York (Kennedy);
LIAT has four daily flights into Grenada. On the hotel front, Bel
Air Plantation will reopen by early November; Calabash Hotel
remains closed until Oct. 30 for its previously scheduled pool
suites remodeling; Flamboyant Hotel will reopen Dec. 20 with 36 of
its 61 rooms, and its one- and two-bedroom units will reopen next
spring; LaSource suffered only minimal roof damage, but is closed
except for emergency personnel; Rex Grenadian is closed until
mid-December. For more information, visit www.grenadaemergency.com.
Haiti. Tropical storm Jeanne swept more than 700
people to their deaths last week, primarily in the northwestern
coastal city of Gonaives, hardest hit by floodwaters and mudslides.
Port au Prince, the capital, was unaffected by the storm. Relief
efforts have been slowed by waterlogged roads and security
Jamaica. In Montego Bay, Holiday Inn SunSpree
reopens Oct. 1; in Negril, Beachcomber reopens Nov. 15; Beaches
Negril Beach Resort & Spa, Oct. l; Beaches Sandy Bay, Oct. 28;
Grand Lido Negril Resort & Spa, Oct. 15; Mariners Inn, remains
closed; Merrils Beach Resort, Oct 3; Merrils Beach Resort III, Dec.
1; Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa, Nov. 18; Sea Splash,
remains closed; Tensing Pen, remains closed. In Runaway Bay, FDR
reopens Oct. 9. On the South coast, Jakes, Treasure Beach and
Strawberry Hill are closed until further notice. Fern Hill Club and
Goblin Hill in Port Antonio are closed until further notice. In
Ocho Rios, Sunset Jamaica Grande is closed for scheduled
renovations and will reopen Dec. 19.
EQUIPMENT & MARKETING ASSOCIATION [DEMA], which holds
its annual trade show for companies involved in scuba, action water
sports and adventure/dive travel Oct. 13 to 16 in Houston, launched
a relief fund for exhibitors in areas affected by the storms in the
Caribbean and U.S. For information, visit www.dema.org.
LINES are getting in on the relief act, too. Princess
Cruises sent a tender to Grand Cayman with water, food and
clothing; NCL Corp. will donate goods, water and food to the
Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Grenada and Jamaica and is working
with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association to distribute food,
water and items like tarps, flashlights, blankets and batteries.
Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have
contributed more than $1.5 million to storm-impacted Caribbean
countries, according to Horace Hord, Jr., regional vice president
of government and community relations for the Eastern Caribbean.
Hord said that the funds were earmarked for the Caribbean Tourism
Organization Relief Fund and for the Caribbean Hotel Association
Foundation for children affected by the hurricanes. An additional
$300,000 will be used for relief supplies.
Florida-Caribbean Cruise Associations annual Caribbean Conference
and Trade Show is set for Oct. 4 to 7 in Barbados. The location was
listed incorrectly in the Sept. 16 Caribbean E-letter. This years
conference was moved from Grand Cayman to Barbados, due to
Hurricane Ivans impact. Next years venue is St. Kitts.