Head of the EU Delegation to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska and Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams. (GP/FP)

Government is seeking to position Barbados as the hub for the Caribbean response to disasters, with the construction of a purpose-built warehouse and training facility.

Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, made this disclosure during a virtual courtesy call with new Head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, today.

Mr. Abrahams said Government was seeking to do so in conjunction with the World Food Network and had received an offer from the United States Government for the construction of a purpose-built warehouse and training facility.

Noting that the Ministry was presently “firming up” the disaster management aspects to properly prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, the Minister noted that those preparations were restricted by the scale on which that could be done due to infrastructural limitations.

He explained that the 250 cots supplied by Barbados to St. Vincent and the Grenadines following the April 9 eruption of the La Soufriere volcano highlighted that fact, as the country required thousands of cots to accommodate those displaced.

Mr. Abrahams said that the ability to get Barbados back up and running following a disaster would be a deciding factor in its recovery process.

He added that his Ministry was presently focused on preparing for the hurricane season, and now had to include considerations for COVID-19 and the recent ash deposits. The latter, he said, was likely to take up to weeks of cleaning, and would present “certain logistical difficulties” in preparing for the hurricane season.

In outlining the other areas of focus for the Ministry, Mr. Abrahams also noted that Brexit could have potential implications for Barbados’ citizens and their ability to travel without a visa.

He also noted that an information campaign was needed on what post-Brexit would look like for Barbados and the Caribbean, as well as greater sharing of information on the European Union.

The Minister also shared that Government was working on Juvenile Justice and Child Protection legislation, and other logistical considerations in relation to the operations at the Government Industrial School.

Ambassador Wasilewska indicated that she would be happy to meet with Government’s team to work on a communications plan to share more information about the European Union going forward.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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