Strengthening partnerships is the way forward during and post-COVID-19 in order to assist the region in receiving humanitarian assistance.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, made the statement this morning, while accepting personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies on behalf of the Barbados Port Inc. (BPI) in the Queens Bond at the Bridgetown Portc.
He received the first shipment to be distributed as far north in the region as Jamaica and Haiti, and included 250,000 protective gloves; 160,000 masks; 110,000 gowns; 67,000 goggles; and 35,000 protective suits.
BPI’s vision of becoming a Regional Logistics Hub was manifested as a result of a partnership with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
The hub involves the BPI utilising its warehousing facilities at the Bridgetown Port to facilitate the storage, sorting and repacking of PPE supplies.
The project was made possible with funding from the Caribbean Development Bank, in collaboration with the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the Pan American Health Organization.
Minister Humphrey noted that each year countries in the region would request assistance when disasters occurred, and with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, he stressed that small island developing states (SIDS) would be in a more vulnerable position, when it comes to receiving funds and supplies.
He added that it had become apparent that SIDS must do all that they could to save themselves, including forming meaningful, profound and transformative partnerships.
Emphasising his point, the Minister added: “I think we must begin by strengthening our partnerships by strengthening our institutions, by working in greater collaboration to achieve our shared outcomes, by recognising that none of us can do this alone.”
Chairman of the Board of the BPI, Lisa Cummins, revealed that as part of its responsibility of being the Regional Logistics Hub, from which CDEMA will coordinate distribution to 13 other Caribbean countries, the BPI not only has agreed to offer warehousing facilities for the storage, sorting and repacking of the equipment, but has also waived the associated port charges.