Barbados attorney general and minister of home affairs, Adriel Brathwaite (R), in close discussion with president of the Roving Response Team, Clive Lorde following the National Consultation in Barbados. (A. Miller/BGIS)
By Julia Rawlins-Bentham
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- Barbados and the Caribbean have been put on notice: address issues related to disaster management urgently, or risk losing 50 years of development.
Barbados attorney general and minister of home affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, issued this clarion call as he addressed a National Consultation of the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Barbados recently.
Brathwaite stressed that there was a need to bring the whole issue of disaster management directly into the framework of the political directorate, nationally and regionally.
“As a country and as a region, we need to move the issue of disaster management centrally to the formulation of government policies,” he stated.
The minister said Barbados has in place some elements of the Hyogo Framework for Action, which outlines measures that may be taken by countries to mitigate and reduce the impact of disasters. But, he stated, there were still some weaknesses in Barbados’ framework, and stressed that there was a need to assemble and do an analysis on where the country was in the process.
However, Brathwaite, said he remained positive about Barbados’ position and encouraged the key stakeholders present to sit down and do an analysis of the gaps and address them.
Deputy executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Elizabeth Riley, further noted that addressing the drivers of risk was as critical today as it was in the past.
She added that the Christmas tragedy in St Vincent was one that caused countries and emergency personnel to examine and reflect on the readiness of their own systems to respond to such incidents.
Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Judy Thomas, said Barbados was instrumental in the effort towards disaster reduction from as early as the 1990s. She added that the presence of those at the consultation showed that issues of disaster management in Barbados were still a priority.