Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite (front row centre)??with the members of the Emergency Managment Advisory Council. (A. Gaskin/BGIS)??

The newly appointed Emergency Management Advisory Council (EMAC), has been reminded that the task ahead is not an easy one given the serious role it is expected to play in ensuring that this country is operational and "up and running" as soon as possible should a natural disaster strike.

Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, who made this assertion this morning at the Inauguration of the EMAC at the Hilton Barbados, told members of the Council that comprises Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries and other senior government officials, that "any country that was serious about its development should have well-oiled machinery in place to ensure that it could recover in the event of a disaster of any kind."

He said: "It is not only for the sake of our people but our economy is driven by tourism, so we must ensure that our tourism plant is back up and functioning as quickly as possible.?? In that regard I’m always heartened to hear from the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Authority… to signal that they have the necessary mechanisms in place that would make sure that their properties can be up and running, so that tourists and staff are well protected should an emergency event arise."

Emphasising that our economy was also driven by International Business, Mr. Brathwaite pointed out that the International Business Unit?? was one of several agencies that should be fully operational as quickly as possible, while adding that others such as the Corporate Affairs Unit and the Supreme Court would also need to be ???back up and functioning if disaster struck’.??

"For us to survive individually and collectively we must guarantee that each and every one of us step up to the plate and have the necessary policy and procedures in place but not only just have them in place but learn from the mistakes of Tropical Storm Tomas as well," the Homes Affairs Minister declared.

Therefore, Mr. Brathwaite pleaded with members not to see their appointment as just another role in terms of their responsibility as Permanent Secretaries in their particular Ministry, but to see it as an essential component as a senior officer of the Barbados Government.

"Disaster Management is not one of these sexy areas where people pay lots of attention to it but if you take the passion that someone like Director of DEM, Judy Thomas has and her officers and former Director Clive Lorde has… that is the kind of passion that we need to translate down to the ordinary man in the street… In this regard, I do not feel that we are doing enough to penetrate the ordinary man in terms of how important it is for us to plan [or] being able to respond in the event of an emergency," the Minister opined.

The EMAC will have responsibility for recommending policies and providing oversight to the system and its programmes; and to engage and guide the efforts of government, non-governmental, voluntary and private agencies in comprehensive and coordinated ways to respond to the entire spectrum of this country’s emergency needs.?? Instruments of Appointment were given to Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand; Former Director of Meteorological Services, Chester Layne; Former Director of the Statistical Services Department, Angela Hunte, and Former Director of the Central Emergency Relief Organisation, Clive Lorde.

Director of Department of Emergency Management, Judy Thomas, was also given the National Award.


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