Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, gives advice to participants at the one-day Business Continuity and Disaster Management Workshop., hosted by the Barbados Employers’ Confederation. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Recovery costs after a natural disaster strikes can run into billions of dollars and a government minister is advising all businesses to have an up-to-date business continuity plan to recommence economic activity as soon as possible.

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, expressed this view today, while addressing the Barbados Employers’ Confederation one-day Business Continuity and Disaster Management Workshop at Hilton Barbados.

The Minister pointed out that with the scenes of devastation etched on the forefront of our minds, countries must determine ways to protect life; develop a culture of proactivity; strengthen preventative measures; and design effective plans to mitigate the impact of disasters on the import and export sectors.

“I believe that if these are achieved, we would be better guided towards assuring the continuity of business and business operations following disaster-induced interruptions,”  he added.

In light of this, the Minister offered those present tips for achieving an appropriate plan for their respective businesses.  He advised business owners to ensure that they craft a disaster recovery plan and update it every five years.

He also advised business owners to be proactive, by determining whether or not the business is in the right location in the event of a disaster or if its location would make it susceptible to flooding or other hazards.

Mr. Inniss also mentioned the importance of determining the priority areas for recovery after the disaster, pointing out that “in the event of a disaster, you will not be able to get your entire enterprise up and going…so you really have to determine what are the priority areas”.

He continued: “I have seen too many enterprises, after a hurricane has passed or a tropical depression, believing that they can reopen for business in a few hours doing everything; that is not reality.  Deeply imbedded in that, you must appreciate as entrepreneurs and business leaders, that your employees are also human beings, they are not machines.  Please appreciate that in the event of a disaster, that your staff also have their own disaster recovery plans to execute and they have to ensure that their immediate families and surroundings are safe before they come to your enterprise to work.”

Mr. Inniss also advised businesses to have an insurance plan, as well as a plan for each major department or unit within their company.

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