His Excellency Governor Augustus Jaspert and Honourable Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith, OBE have been presented the findings of the recently completed State of Readiness Report.
The findings of the report were discussed when the members of the National Disaster Management Council (NDMC) met on March 22. The council is made up of Permanent Secretaries and other senior representatives of Government who chair the NDMC’s various committees.
Governor Jaspert while addressing council members said, “We must take time to reflect on work that has been done so far but we must also get ready for the approaching hurricane season, doing our very best to ensure that we have measures in place to protect and work with the public so that they can protect themselves and their communities.”
Governor Jaspert added, “This meeting today will help us determine the immediate actions needed in the next few months as we head into what might be another active hurricane season.”
The Council’s Co-Chair Premier Smith expressed similar sentiments and noted “we have been faced with devastating circumstances but it is important that we do all that we can to prepare and to be ready.”
Premier Smith pledged his support and mentioned his Government’s commitment to constructing a new headquarters for the National Emergency Operations Center and the Department of Disaster Management. He affirmed his commitment to getting the emergency shelters ready in time for the peak of the 2018 Hurricane Season.
The findings from the State of Readiness Report were presented by the Director, Disaster Management Ms Sharleen DaBreo who said the 2017 Hurricane Season has been documented as record-breaking.
Ms DaBreo said, “The impacts from the 3 events occurred within less than two months and have been classified as unprecedented. The hazard landscape is changing and we are not only dealing with the impact of hurricanes but also the unpredictability of tsunamis, earthquakes and the rapid onset of intense rain periods and high surf events.”
The director’s presentation concentrated on the level of readiness of each sector and the support that has been committed by regional and international partners. She also spoke about the actions needed to bring the state of readiness to a satisfactory level.
The meeting focused on the issues that arose from the consultations and interviews carried out by the DDM over the past few months. Deputy Director Evangeline Inniss-Springer delivered a presentation on the issues the country is facing in trying to reach an acceptable level of readiness.
Following her presentation, Mrs Inniss-Springer said she was able to capture the critical priority areas based on the views expressed by the council members including the need to have the emergency shelter repairs completed.
The council was also provided with a list of proposed changes to the Disaster Management Bill 2017. These amendments are based on the experiences of last year and the feedback received from the various NDMC committees as well as members of the public. The next step is the advancement of these amendments to Cabinet where further discussions will be held on how they can be facilitated within the final version of the Bill that is before the House of Assembly.
Governor Jaspert brought the meeting to a close by expressing his immense pride and gratitude for the work of the Territory’s public servants. He said, “2017 was indeed a record-breaking event but we were able to minimise the loss of lives and provide an effective response. I was very impressed with our ability to have critical services up and running in a short period of time. These are incredible achievements.”
The Governor encouraged members of the Council to keep pressing on and called for efforts to encourage community support which is critical in order for the Territory to be ready for the 2018 Hurricane Season.
Note to Editors:
The National Disaster Management Council reviews and monitors the national comprehensive disaster management strategy; makes recommendations to the Government on required resources; develops, reviews, and evaluates national plans and procedures, and provides policy direction and leadership for its committees. The Governor is Chairman of the National Disaster Management Council and the Premier is the Co-Chairman.