From left: Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite; Project Co-ordinator with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Joanne Persad; and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Andrew Cox, are pictured at??the symposium. (G. Brewster/BGIS)

With the hurricane season in its infancy, Barbadians are again being reminded that home insurance can no longer be seen as a luxury but is now deemed a necessity.

This comes from Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, who said with the recent natural disasters happening worldwide, and the occurrence of Tropical Storm Tomas last October, "it is, therefore, desirable that all property owners take pride in owning their properties and take appropriate action to prevent or mitigate loss or damage".

He was speaking today at the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and Ministry of Tourism’s Multi-Hazard Disaster Management Symposium, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Stressing that hurricane preparedness must be at the "centre of our beings", the Attorney General noted that readiness for the season could no longer be seen as an exercise from June to November but must be regarded as an everyday happening.

"Both the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Emergency Management recognise the need for a more renewed approach and a change in attitude towards preparedness in relation to any hazard that may affect our island.?? It is felt that too many of our citizens equate disaster management with hurricane preparedness and this is only considered when the hurricane season approaches annually.

"Our complacency was somewhat shattered in October 2010 with the advent of Tropical Storm Tomas.?? This storm exposed our vulnerability and highlighted the need to be in a constant state of readiness," he charged.

The Minister told tourism stakeholders and key officials gathered that "there is no doubt that effective prevention is achievable through the enforcement of building codes, [thus] ensuring that buildings are well designed, constructed and regularly and properly maintained and that some form of provision is made to cover properties by the?? purchasing of insurance…"

Adding that the Caribbean region is most susceptible to natural phenomenon, Mr. Brathwaite stated that "as the island’s most significant economic activity, tourism, which contributed to 15 per cent of this island’s gross domestic product last year, directly employed approximately 12,700 persons and visitor receipts, which totalled US$ 1million.

"Events are happening all across the globe… the ability of the international countries to respond will no longer be forthcoming. So, we must now look within ourselves… we must be able to help ourselves in any eventuality," the Attorney General reiterated.??????


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