April 30, 20151457Views

Premier and
Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE is extending
congratulations to the Department of Disaster Management for leading the BVI on
the journey to become the first Territory in the Caribbean to be granted
international accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation
Programme (EMAP).

The Virgin Islands
is also the first outside of the United States and Canada, to receive the
accolade. Premier Smith said the accreditation is significant to the British
Virgin Islands in its efforts to ensure that sustainable practices are
incorporated within development plans.

He said it
illustrates that the Government is continuing to contribute to a programme
aimed at ensuring improved resilience within our communities.

“I was impressed
to learn that the National Disaster Management Programme had been able to
achieve all 64 EMAP standards and was able to gain the commission’s approval
for full accreditation,” Premier Smith said.

Premier Smith
added, “It has been known for many years that the National Disaster Management
Programme in the BVI has stood out among regional and international programmes
and has been recognised for its achievements and its contribution towards safer,
healthier and greener development initiatives.”

This accreditation
validates the successes of the programme and proves its evolution to now be
recognised globally. In addition, Premier Smith commended the department for
its diligent efforts.

He said, “The
process by no means has been an easy path, but the persistence of the DDM team
and the support given by sector leads, have ensured that disaster management
remains a priority for the Government.”

Premier Smith
stated that Government clearly understands the need for the National Disaster
Management Programme to be engaged in continuous review and improvement of its
quality, that it meets endorsed standards in the profession, and that it is
effectively carrying out its mandate.

He added that
Government is accountable to the people of the BVI and the many stakeholders
and partners who contribute to improved community-based resiliency

This accreditation
achievement proves that the National Disaster Management Programme is being
implemented in keeping with internationally acceptable standards.

EMAP accreditation
provides a unique opportunity for the Territory to show the world that it is
doing the right things to prepare for potential hazard impacts in a transparent
manner that takes into consideration the need to protect its people and its environment.

Premier Smith further
added that as the accreditation is celebrated,, achievements such as these are
not possible without strong champions. He recognised and commended Mr. Elton
Georges, a former Deputy Governor who ensured that disaster management remained
on the agenda of Government leaders.

Mr. Georges was
instrumental in grooming many of disaster management directors and establishing
a department aimed at focusing on the subject. Premier Smith also thanked him
for his pioneering role.

Premier Smith encouraged
the people of the Territory to be proud of the disaster management team for
their leadership and their efforts to ensure that the BVI is recognised among
international peers for its excellence in disaster management.