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Special needs mother accuses the NAU of breaking promises

The mother of a special needs child told Cayman 27 government is breaking its promise to her family. Norene Ebanks says the Needs Assessment Unit agreed in September to take on renovations to make the house more accessible for her 11-year old daughter Donette, who has cerebral palsy.

She said work was supposed to start this month, but now says the NAU is singing a different tune.

“This is the bedroom door, so for me to get Donette here with me in my arms here, this is how I have to hold her to slip though and get her in there,” said Ms. Ebanks.

Norene Ebanks said getting her 11-year old daughter Donette, who has cerebral palsy, from her bed to the bath, or anywhere else, can be a backbreaking challenge.

“Lifting 60 pounds 3, 4, 5 times a day is not the easiest thing in the world,” she pointed out.

She told Cayman 27 in September, the NAU agreed to take on some reconstruction works to make the home more accessible, widening doorways, improving the bathroom, and installing a track system to help move Donette around the house.

“When I spoke to them they told me they said it should have been done, starred in the middle of November and it would be finished within 2 months,” said Ms. Ebanks. “When I spoke to them the last time since that, it hasn’t even went to the meeting yet because something has held it up.”

Ms. Ebanks is no stranger to Cayman 27 viewers. She’s appealed for help with CUC bills in the past. Now she hopes sharing her story again will help force the NAUu to follow through on its promise.

“That’s all I want, I want them to get what I want done. At least give me what you promised me, you know? You promised that you were going to start in the middle of the month – give it to me, do that for me, for Donette, she’s a child of disability and she needs to get things done for her,” she said.

She questioned why getting any help for her family’s special situation could be so difficult.

“I’ve heard back in England you can get it in the wink of an eye, Canada, you can get it in the wink of an eye, and in the United States you can get it in the wink of an eye,” she said of getting assistance to help with special needs situations like her own.  “I’m not sure what is wrong with the Cayman Islands because we are part of the English, why are we not getting the same treatment as they are?”

We reached out to the Needs Assessment Unit, and spoke with a case worker familiar with Ms. Ebanks’ situation. He told us her case has not yet been dealt with.

We also reached out to the head of the Housing Repairs Committee, and have yet to hear back.

Tagsneeds assessment unit

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at or send an email to

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