Barbados has been chosen as the home of the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Caribbean Regional Logistics Hub and Centre of Excellence.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, speaking at the launch/groundbreaking ceremony at Perimeter Road, Christ Church, this morning, expressed thanks to the World Food Programme for “having the confidence in our nation to be able to choose us to be that place” in which to have its Logistics Hub and Centre of Excellence located.
The Prime Minister noted that with the increase in natural disasters as a result of climate change, the disruptions to supply chains due to COVID-19, and the war in Ukraine, it was necessary to have logistical systems in place to assist countries in the event of natural disasters, whether this was with food, security, personal protective equipment, or any other kind of assistance necessary.
“Without food and without security, in the aftermath of a natural disaster, you have a national security problem within 24 hours. Without security and without access to food and water, you have a national security problem within 24 hours. Barbados is therefore ideally placed to be able to ensure with the help of the World Food Programme and CDEMA that we can provide that geographical location from which you can reach multiple countries both in the Caribbean island chains and coastal Latin America, in no time at all,” Ms. Mottley stated.
The Prime Minister added that she believes Barbados has a responsibility within the sub-region to play its part as a premier logistics hub, given its geographical location, and as such the housing of the WFP Caribbean Regional Logistics Hub and Centre of Excellence represents a step in that direction.
Ms. Mottley declared: “Barbados, therefore, has to embrace in my view, with great passion, the ability to be the logistics hub for maritime and air movement, for security for commerce and trade, for travel and cruise in a way that we’ve never holistically done before.
“And, if we recognise the advantage that geography has given us, even down to where we are on the island chain, to the passage of systems, then we understand that we have a solemn obligation to literally make this an integral industry in our country, so that our citizens can benefit; but so that we can also do regional and global good, while our citizens benefit.”
It was noted that with the WFP’s logistics hub located here, the benefits would redound, way beyond its purpose of being able to save lives, to not only Barbados but the sub-region.
While stating she looked forward to a long and rewarding relationship between Barbados, the World Food Programme and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Prime Minister Mottley also commended the donor countries who made the logistics hub and centre of excellence possible, including the United States of America, the European Union, and Canada.