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Help for Donnette: Community Affairs minister vows action after home visit

The mother of a special needs child may finally be getting action to improve her family’s living situation. After seeing our story on Norene Ebanks and her daughter Donnette Thompson, who has cerebral palsy, and the cramped conditions in their home, Community Affairs Minister Osbourne Bodden paid the family a visit.

“It’s not a good situation, it’s an urgent situation,” said Minister Bodden, after seeing the cramped quarters Ms. Ebanks and her three children call home.

Mr. Bodden told Cayman 27 Norene and her 11-year old daughter Donnette desperately need a change in scenery.

“We have to find a way to expedite this, we have to get relocation. If we try to repair what’s here, it’s not suitable, for a number of reasons the home is not conducive to proper fit out,” said Mr. Bodden.

Wednesday, he, along with Needs Assessment Unit and Housing Repair Unit representatives toured the living quarters. The home was inherited by several children, and Ms. Ebanks’ portion consists of half of a single family home, divided by a wall. The door from the main living area that functions as a makeshift bedroom to the actual bedroom and bathroom at the rear of the house is less than half the proper width for such a door.

“[It’s] very difficult to maneuver, difficult to have access to the services she needs, there’s no special set up for her,” observed Mr. Bodden.

Without getting into specifics, he vowed action on behalf of Donnette and her family.

“I do give my commitment to certainly change the state of play here,” said Mr. Bodden.

After Mr. Bodden left the premises, Ms. Ebanks told Cayman 27 although she’s heard promises in the past, she hopes this time she’ll see a tangible change.

“I’m taking Mr. Bodden’s word for it, let’s put it that way,” she said. “I was assured by him that he was going to make sure that things happen now and with him bringing his group with him today it seems like a bit impressive to me. I’m pretty sure he’s going to stay by his word.”

“I’d like to think that we can do something before Christmas, but Christmas is quite close,” said Mr. Bodden. “We’ll see.”


Mr. Bodden told Cayman 27 this case is evidence there is a lot of need in our three islands.

He said the system should work better, and is saddened that it has had to come this far to initiate action. We will stay on this story as it develops.

About the author

Joseph Avary

Joseph Avary

Joe Avary joined the Cayman 27 team in January 2014, bringing nearly two decades of experience in TV news to the islands. He spends his time away from the office scuba diving, practicing yoga, and trying to make his friends laugh at his comedic stylings. He proudly calls the district of West Bay home, and loves nothing more than relaxing visits to the Sister Islands.

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