June 25, 20151950Views

Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE has lauded the recent international
accreditation conferred upon the National Disaster Management Programme (NDMP)
as “an outstanding achievement and one we must celebrate and be very proud of.”

Smith was speaking at the annual meeting of the
National Disaster Management
Council (NDMC) which was held on Thursday, June 25.

The accreditation is
awarded by the Emergency Management Accreditation Programme (EMAP), which is
the only accreditation process that exists for emergency management programmes

is indeed a significant step in showing the world that although we are a small
group of islands we have the knowledge and skills to achieve big things.  Our disaster management programme can match
any other,” the Premier stated.

Speaking of having a greater appreciation for the importance of the disaster
management programme, the Premier recalled his time as Chief Medical Officer
and his involvement with regional partners such as the Pan American Health
Organization (PAHO) and acknowledged the evolution of the programme to one that
is now universally endorsed as a development priority.

He gave his government’s commitment to ensuring that the various sectors
are true partners in the process of comprehensive disaster management and he committed
to providing continued leadership to the NDMC in the areas of mitigation and

He further committed to supporting the vision of the Comprehensive Disaster
Management Strategy in creating a SMART footprint aimed towards resiliency and
safe-guarding lives, livelihoods and the sustainable development of the BVI. The
Premier called for full engagement of communities in identifying solutions to
mitigate risks.

 “We have an extensive skill
base in the BVI and I see no reason why we cannot capitalise on this.  We must find ways to engage persons in our
communities who are willing to contribute their technical expertise to address
complex problems. There is also need for more public-private-people partnerships,”
he stated.

The Premier also acknowledged the need for closer connectivity between
government programmes, particularly among the energy portfolio, climate change
and disaster risk reduction.

 “My Government is cognizant that any
development initiatives must incorporate resilience measures as core components
of their design to ensure that disaster management is mainstreamed into
development and that these efforts are aligned with the climate change
adaptation portfolio,” he added.

restructuring of the NDMC in 2014 has allowed ministries to have direct
oversight of the work of the sub-committees and to engage more directly with
the sectors and communities. The Permanent Secretaries now sit at the helm of
these committees with technical guidance being provided by the DDM.  In recognition of this closer partnership,
Permanent Secretaries and other key officials received EMAP accreditation pins
and copies of the accreditation certificate at 

recognised at the NDMC meeting was Mr. Elton Georges who in 1970s set the foundation
for the disaster management programme, carefully laying the steps to build a
resilient programme that has evolved into one that is now recognised internationally.

the work that has been done over the years to allow the BVI to gain
accreditation, Premier Smith expressed optimism about the future of the
programme. “We have the expertise that we need to guide and implement the
strategy.  Together we can achieve it and
together we will,” the Premier affirmed.

National Disaster Management Council is the body mandated to provide oversight
of the Territory’s disaster management programme. At its annual meeting,
members receive the State of Preparedness Report and provide updates on the
work of the various committees.