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CELLULAR COMPANIES ADD TEXTING TO EARLY WARNING SYSTEM IN BVI

CELLULAR COMPANIES ADD TEXTING TO EARLY WARNING SYSTEM IN BVI

April 9, 2015875Views

Text messaging
is now officially part of the Early Warning System in the British Virgin
Islands.

Representatives
from all three cellular companies operating in the BVI today inked agreements that
will facilitate the use of their respective Short Message Service (SMS)
platforms to deliver emergency messages to their customer database.

His Excellency
Governor John Duncan who signed on behalf of the BVI Government welcomed the
historic development, noting that the move has been long in coming.

“Text
messaging is a widely used communication tool. The ability to instantaneously
share emergency messages with a wide cross-section of the population certainly
helps to revolutionise our Early Warning System,” Governor Duncan stated.

He added, “It
is a red letter day for disaster management in the BVI. I commend the
Department of Disaster Management for the foresight to pursue this additional
means of notification as well as the cellular companies for recognising the
importance of their partnership in disaster risk reduction initiatives such as
this.”

Under the
agreements, CCT Global Communications, Digicel BVI Limited and LIME BVI will
participate in the monthly testing of the Early Warning System which is
conducted every fourth Friday; use their SMS platforms to disseminate messages
to their customer database in the event of a potential hazard impact and share
via social media, hazard information disseminated by the DDM.

Although the agreements are
only now being signed, the cellular companies have in the past tested the
efficacy of the system, with the most recent test conducted during the 2015
Caribewave Lantex simulation exercise in March.

All three companies have
welcomed the opportunity to positively impact disaster preparedness activities
in the BVI.

CCT’s Administration
Manager, Ms. Rekeema Turnbull said, “CCT welcomes the opportunity to partner
with DDM on initiatives that promote the safety and security of our community.
 DDM can always count on CCT as a resource to disseminate important
messages in a timely manner to the BVI community.  As a responsible
corporate citizen, CCT is always willing to do our part to preserve and protect
the BVI community.”

Digicel Financial
Controller, Mr. Tommy Farrell noted that past events have highlighted the need
for such service. “It was clear following the passage of Hurricane Gonzalo,
through the Leeward Islands last year, that such a service was needed and
Digicel is delighted to assist the DDM with this historical venture that they
are committing to today. Digicel is always happy to assist the Territory and
its citizens, especially in cases of emergency.”

Similar sentiments were
shared by LIME’s General Manager, Mr. Sean Auguste. “LIME understands the
critical role that communication plays in the need to inform our communities of
any impending disasters and aiding in the management of recovery activities. We
are happy that the Governor, DDM and the Government of the BVI have pursued
this initiative to establish this communication framework and have included
LIME. We commit to fully supporting it and doing what is required of us,” Mr.
Auguste stated.

Witnessing
Thursday’s ceremony were Permanent Secretary in the Deputy Governor’s Office, Mr.
David Archer; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works
,
Mr. Anthony McMaster and
Chief
Executive Officer of Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, Mr. Guy Malone
as well as representatives of the DDM.

The DDM continues to create
valuable partnerships with stakeholders in the BVI as it pursues disaster risk
reduction initiatives to improve resilience in the BVI. The Comprehensive
Disaster Management Strategy and Programming Framework which guides the work of
the department, has as it goal, Avoidable loss of lives, livelihoods and property
reduced and development gains safeguarded.