Regional transportation ministers will converge in Barbados next week for the 10th International Road Federation (IRF) Caribbean Regional Congress, a major road and transportation conference. It will commence on Tuesday, June 7 and conclude Friday, June 10 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
This is according to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Water Resources (MTWW), Mark Cummins who disclosed that the 10th IRF Caribbean Regional Congress will provide a platform for transportation ministers to discuss regional integration and cooperation related to roadbuilding, road safety, infrastructure, climate change resilience amongst other pertinent matters.
The MTWW has been instrumental in organising the congress in association with the IRF and the Caribbean Development Bank. Over the four days, there will be plenary and breakout sessions as well as a technical tour to two locations on island.
Barbados’ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources, Santia Bradshaw will attend the Congress, along with Dominica’s Minister of Public Works and the Digital Economy, Cassanni Laville; Guyana’s Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, and Jamaica’s State Minister in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, JC Hutchinson.
Also due to attend are: Minister of Communications and Works, Key Rymer, British Virgin Islands; Minister of Tourism and Transport, Kenneth Bryan, Cayman Islands; Secretary of Transportation of Puerto Rico, Eileen Vélez-Vega; Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Transport, Physical Development and Urban Renewal, Stephenson King, St. Lucia; and Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development, Akierra Mary Deanne Missick, Turks & Caicos.
“The fact that we are having nine ministers with responsibility for transport is very exciting. The 10th IRF Caribbean Regional Congress provides a platform whereby those ministers can sit down and have a caucus and discuss matters related to roadbuilding, specific road infrastructure, and the whole question of the climate change resilience. It will also allow them to share different country experiences and this will redound to the benefit of the region.
“The 10th IRF Caribbean Regional Congress should also provide networking opportunities because it’s not often that we get so many transportation and engineering professionals in the same space. We will leverage that to make sure that various experiences are shared and that we will build long-term regional relationships where we can consult with our regional partners,” Mr. Cummins said, adding that a ministerial session will be held on Wednesday, June 8.
Other matters on the agenda include the decarbonisation of the roads by 2050; road safety; the impact of climate change and environmental threats on road infrastructure; the impact COVID-19 has had on transport; infrastructure investment and innovative financing; international road policing, and new materials and construction techniques that can enhance resilience.
The Permanent Secretary revealed that approximately 130 delegates, including engineering professionals, road construction experts, road safety experts and academic researchers are expected to attend the event.
“Each minister will be accompanied by their permanent secretary, and in some instances their Directors of Transport or Directors of Infrastructure, so we expect to have very high level delegations. We also have personnel from the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank. We also took the opportunity to invite a few public sector officials who do not work with the MTWW but their work overlaps with ours as it relates to planning and other matters related to road safety and public transport,” Mr. Cummins added.
Interested persons may still register for the 10th IRF Caribbean Regional Congress by visiting https://www.irf.global/event/10th-crc/.