Friday, February 17– Two public officers from the Virgin Islands attended the second annual consultation among senior government officials of the eastern sub-region of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) system which was held in Antigua and Barbuda and hosted by the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS).
The two day meeting which was held from 14th to 15th of February, brought together National Disaster Coordinators and Permanent Secretaries from Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis and the Virgin Islands as well as the Deputy Governor of Anguilla. Representing the Virgin Islands were Mrs. Helen Seymore, Acting Deputy Secretary in the Deputy Governor’s Office and Ms. Sheniah Armstrong, Planning and Preparedness Manager at the DDM.
This forum presented the participating stakeholders the opportunity to familiarize themselves with national and regional disaster operational plans, gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the Sub Regional Focal Points in the CDEMA Regional Response Mechanism and share updated contact information. It also allowed policy and decision makers to provide input into emergency response coordination planning of the eastern sub-region. At the conclusion of the meeting, a schedule for the meeting of policy and operational personnel within the sub-region was developed.
CDEMA facilitates these sub-regional consultations as part of a broader initiative of the €1.8 million ACP-EU funded 3-year Sub-Regional Disaster Risk Management Programme which seeks to build the resilience of nations and communities in the Caribbean to hazard impacts.
Held for the first time in 2011, these consultations are now scheduled as part of the annual programme to improve the capacity of Sub-Regional Focal Points (SRFPs) to respond to disasters within each of the four CDEMA sub-regions. The initial meetings focused on the sub-regional structure, functions and coordination arrangements.
They also identified aspects of response deficiency of each state within the Rub-regions which may be enhanced under future programmes.
The Sub-Regional Focal Points (SRFPs), Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are CDEMA’s frontline response to member states after a disaster event. This year’s consultations will take place in each of these Territories over the next four (4) months.