Chairing his final meeting
of the National Disaster Management Council, His Excellency Governor Boyd
McCleary expressed satisfaction with the progress of disaster management work
in the British Virgin Islands in the past year.
Comparing the most recent accomplishments
to those reported in the preceding three years, Governor McCleary said, “I’m struck
by how much has been done since our last meeting. There is obviously a ratcheting
up of the pace in which disaster management work is being mainstreamed across Government.”
The Governor acknowledged
the support of the Premier and Ministers of Cabinet in advancing the disaster
management agenda. “We could not have achieved what we have without a full
engagement of the Premier and his team and I am confident, having seen the
passage of the new Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy through Cabinet
that their support will continue. I am confident too that the BVI will continue
to make further advancements over the next few years and we will get further
accolades for the work that it does here and in the wider Caribbean.”
He made specific reference
to their participation in CARIBEWAVE/LANTEX 14, the national simulation
exercise held in March and the additional credence this has given to proper
planning and exercising of disaster management plans.
Though pleased with
progress over the past four years, the Governor has identified three critical
areas that should be addressed to pave the way for future successes. These
include the enactment of the 2011 Disaster Management Bill which he believes is
an important step forward for the Territory and he looks forward to its passage
in the House of Assembly.
Governor McCleary also
identified an urgent need for new facilities for the National Emergency
Operations Centre, noting that funds must now to be obtained to build a state
of the art facility that can facilitate better work and can be showcased throughout
The third point was the
need for a more active and involved NDMC, that is able to make significant
strides in accomplishing the outcomes outlined in the new strategy.
In his remarks, Premier and
Deputy Chair of the NDMC, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith, OBE encouraged public
servants to set the example for the rest of the population by ensuring full engagement
in the actions required, not only to prepare for but to mitigate the effects
that hazards can have on critical infrastructure.
“We are fortunate to have a
disaster management programme that has sustained itself for more than 30 years
now and has been able to illustrate measurable results and has made significant
contributions to the way in which we develop these islands. This work must
continue and I strongly believe that the newly approved VI Comprehensive
Disaster Management Strategy will provide the roadmap for advancing the
programme over the next five years,” the Premier stated.
The Premier also thanked
the Governor for his service as Chairman of the NDMC and encouraged him to
continue being involved in disaster management.
meeting also included the presentation of the State of Preparedness Report; a
report on the advancement of the CDM programme for the sister islands as well
as a proposal for the restructuring of the NDMC to allow for greater sector
focus and emphasis on building community resiliency.