Friday, June 11 – On Thursday 10th
May the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) hosted a stakeholder
consultation to develop standardized procedures and guidelines for managing incidents
involving large marine passenger vessels.
Paul Saunders, a Disaster Risk Management Specialist at DHP Caribbean Ltd in
Trinidad and Tobago, facilitated the consultation which served to examine the
use of the incident command system, local support available to impacted
vessels, border control, managing environmental impacts, shelter provisioning,
search and rescue resources and management of external assistance. Later in the week, Mr. Saunders will also
meet with other stakeholders to discuss proposed changes to the existing External
In his opening statement Mr.
Saunders said, “We are going to identify key areas that would need to be
addressed in the event of major accidents at sea and analyse them with the
intention of creating national policies, strategies and guidelines to be used
in the management of large passenger marine vessels incidents”
He further said, “The
consultation is the first step in obtaining stakeholders feedback which will ultimately
be used to shape the guidelines.”
Saunders has over twenty (20) years of knowledge and
experience in the field of Disaster Risk Management; and also served as
Director General and Chief Executive Officer for the disaster offices in
Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago respectively.
project is part of an initiative to ensure that adequate plans and procedures
are in place to address all possible hazards that can impact the Territory and
its critical resources. DDM’s Planning and Preparedness Manager, Ms. Sheniah
Armstrong-Davies said, “As the Government of the Virgin Islands moves towards
embracing a comprehensive approach to managing disastrous events, we have
identified the need to develop standardised procedures and guidelines to guide
any response to incidents involving large scale passenger marine vessels. We
may not be able to prevent an incident from occurring but with combined efforts
and a high level of preparedness will aid in averting a catastrophe.”
The consultation was held
at Conservation and Fisheries Department conference room and was attended by
key stakeholders from government and the private sector.
The project expected to be completed by mid
June, 2012 and is fully funded by the Comprehensive Disaster Management
Harmonization Implementation (CDM HIP) Programme being implemented by the Caribbean
Disaster Emergency Agency (CDEMA) and funded by various donor partners
including UKAID from the Department of International Development.