Friday, February 18 – Several representatives from Government departments met to discuss the economic and social issues of vulnerable populations within the Virgin Islands on Thursday, February 17th, 2011.
This meeting, chaired by Governor Boyd McCleary, brought together the second of two newly formed Technical Working Groups (TWG) of the National Disaster Management Council (NDMC), previously approved by Cabinet, to address issues arising from the hazard impacts of 2010.
The overall objectives of this meeting were to propose policies on the design of social safety nets and other targeted policy interventions; to reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards; and to evaluate current policies and programmes in areas such as enforcement of building codes, immigration and labour policies and environmental health standards.
The participants received a presentation from the DDM recapping the four main events of 2010; the July Flash Floods (July 20-21), Hurricane Earl (August 29 – 31), the September 19th Flash Floods and Tropical Storm Otto (September 30 – October 7). A number of “lessons learnt” were also presented.
Following the presentation, members of the Technical Working Group discussed possible ways of addressing the arising issues. Some of these recommendations include the development of policies, changes to legislation, greater enforcement of regulations and a more closely working relationship among agencies to tackle issues that are spread across various sectors.
The Group is expected to develop a plan of action over the next four weeks which will determine how the recommendations will be assigned and executed. The completed plan will be submitted to Cabinet by the Governor in his capacity as NDMC Chairman. It will address priority areas, suggested timeframes for addressing issues, performance measures, documentation of effective monitoring and a mechanism for capturing data.
The approved plan will then be complemented by a monitoring framework, which would include the development of progress reports against the agreed targets, to be submitted to Cabinet at various intervals.
The Technical Working Group is expected to serve for six months.