Barbados is in the process of developing a National Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear Plan. It is being prepared by the Department of Emergency Management, with support from other Government Departments.

This was disclosed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Edison Alleyne, who noted that a two-day regional meeting for National Emergency Coordinators, under the Assistance and Protection Caribbean Region Project for Creation of Regional Chemical Response, would provide further information and advance the development of that plan.

Mr. Alleyne made these comments today while addressing the opening ceremony for the workshop which is being held at the Radisson Aquatica Resort.??In addition, he noted that the meeting was expected to contribute to the attainment of the goals outlined in the National Sustainable Development Policy regarding the environmentally sound management of hazardous substances.

???It is now better understood that policy coordination across relevant sectors at the national, regional and international levels is important to ensure effective management of risks throughout the lifestyle of a chemical,??? he said.

Mr. Alleyne stressed that the meeting underscored the fact that it was equally important to have a coordinated effort when responding to incidents that involve chemical weapons and chemicals at all levels.

He, therefore, urged those present to give consideration to each country???s individual capacity to address chemical emergencies; the existing mechanisms for regional response to emergencies; the institutional framework and legislative provisions that would be necessary to establish and maintain the mechanism, and how it would be operationalised.

The Permanent Secretary said Barbados was a signatory state to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and benefited from training for local responders in emergency response protocols.??

He added that a fire officer was also trained at the level of instructor, and he or she was expected to incorporate those skills into the Barbados Fire Service???s continuous development training and extended to all emergency response personnel within the national emergency response mechanism.

While commending the assistance received from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Mr. Alleyne also lauded the work done by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and CARICOM for their participation in the project to develop a regional chemical emergency response mechanism.

Project Manager with responsibility for response and recovery at CDEMA, Joanne Persaud, highlighted the fact that the Caribbean was also vulnerable to chemical emergencies.??

???From a series of oil spills in 2013 in Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and Dominica, to an explosion and fire of a recycling plant in Barbados and a landfill fire in St. Lucia, to cyanide leaks and pollution in Guyana and Suriname, this region has and continues to be exposed to chemical emergencies,??? she stated.

Therefore, she joined the call for those present to come together in the development of a regional response to chemical emergencies.??

The two-day meeting is being held to chart the way forward in the planning of a regional emergency response mechanism to chemical hazards. It is also expected to establish a draft regional capability matrix, a regional C-framework and gp analysis; provide a definition of a regional concept of operation and a draft plan of action for creation of a Regional Chemical Respond Capacity.

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