Friday, June 9 – Governor Boyd McCLeary chaired his first meeting of the National Disaster Management Council (NDMC) held at Maria’s By the Sea Hotel.
Speaking at the opening yesterday, the governor set the tone for reports from two working groups which were recently established to examine the infrastructural and social issues emanating from the 2010 storm events. He said, “An important innovation at this year’s meeting will be a report from two technical working groups which were set up to discuss mitigation against future damage and to set plans and processes to help the Territory be better prepared for future events.”
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal, OBE speaking in his capacity as the deputy chairman of the NDMC, encouraged all members to ensure all staff of their respective departments and agencies take the necessary precautions in the event of a storm approaching the Territory. He commended the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) for their hard work and continuous efforts in aiding in policies to making the Territory safer.
Thursday’s annual meeting was held to review the 2010 action points and to receive reports from the various sub-committees on the Territory’s level of preparedness during this year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season. Of particular interest to the NDMC was the “Report on the State of Preparedness of the Territory for the 2011 Hurricane Season” compiled by the DDM and which included results of an on-line audit of 75 government departments, agencies and critical private sector organisations. The report revealed that while results of the survey indicated the Territory is adequately prepared, there are some critical areas which must be addressed urgently in light of the predictions for a very active season.
The highlight of the meeting was the reports from the various sub-committees responsible for health disaster management; emergency planning; welfare and relief distribution; public information and awareness; mitigation; transport and infrastructure and emergency fund distribution. A comprehensive report of the meeting including action points, with assigned responsibilities, will be compiled in the coming weeks and submitted to Cabinet with recommendations for approval.
In his closing remarks, the governor commended all the sub-committees for the work they have done over the past year to ensure the Territory is in a state of readiness for this year’s hurricane season. He also expressed his delight in reporting that the work of the DDM is highly regarded, not only by other UK Overseas Territories, but also by his colleagues in the UK who are responsible for and take a very keen and active interest in Disaster Management.
The NDMC is established by the Disaster Management Act 2003. Its role is to review the national strategy for, and the state of, disaster management in the Territory and to make recommendations to government. The governor is the chairman and the premier is the deputy chairman of the NDMC. The premier has ultimate responsibility for the area of hazard mitigation and disaster recovery (comprised of rehabilitation and reconstruction) while the governor’s functions cover the areas of preparedness, and response.