Monday, 22nd November 2010 – The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) hosted a local consultation for the adaptation of the model disaster legislation and regulations on Friday at the Maria’s By The Sea Hotel.
Ms. Gillian Vidal Jules, a consultant and member of a disaster management consortium based in St. Lucia, facilitated the meeting and presented the Model Disaster Management Bill which is expected to be adapted to support the revisions to the existing National Disaster Management Act, No. 3 of 2003.
At the forum, stakeholders and technical experts reviewed the contents of the model legislation to determine its relevance from a local perspective. Suggestions made will be used not only to improve the model but to support the local adaptation process which is expected to commence shortly and will be supported by CDEMA. In her remarks DDM Director, Ms Sharleen DaBreo, said, “I am specifically interested in how the new model is going to allow for improvement of our existing legislation. We have already identified a number of areas that required improvement and others that need to be included based on recent hazard impact experiences.”
In attendance were representatives from the Premier’s Office, Attorney General’s Chambers, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), Ministry of Health and Social Development, Environmental Health, Departments of Conservation and Fisheries and Agriculture, Public Works, and Town and Country Planning, Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services, , Virgin Islands Shipping Registry and DDM.
The consultation follows a regional forum on disaster management legislation held in September which was attended by representatives from the DDM and the Attorney General’s Chambers. The local adaptation process, which has begun in the Territory, will address existing weaknesses in disaster management legislation in CDEMA’s participating states following a comprehensive review. The activities will update and strengthen enforcement and more intimately link disaster legislation with the enhanced Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Frameworks.
The enhanced CDM Framework which emphasises disaster loss reduction through risk management aims to strengthen capacities regionally for the mitigation, management and coordinated response to all hazards and the effects of climate change. The environment and capacity of the Virgin Islands for risk mitigation will be strengthened by the outputs of this activity.
These activities fall under the institutional support and capacity building of disaster management in the Caribbean project which is funded by the European Union (EU). It is in its third year of implementation and is aimed at increasing capability to coordinate and lead disaster management more efficiently among all the CDEMA participating states.