Bajans urged to be ready
Lack of finance cannot be allowed to obstruct disaster preparedness, says Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite.
At the opening session of the 2013 Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) programming consultation today in the Radisson Aquatica Resort, Carlisle Bay, St Michael, Brathwaite urged Barbadians to ensure they were as ready as possible for a disaster despite their level of income.
“The irony is that the more vulnerable parts of our society, the more vulnerable individuals in our country seem to be the ones last out of the blocks in terms of being ready. Therefore I want to send the message out that being ready does not mean you have to have a lot of money . . . . Even in the absence of lots of cash, there are many things that one can do to get oneself prepared,” he said.
Brathwaite said the Barbados model was not one where people should only be ready from June 1 but one where they should be in a perpetual state of readiness, adding he was not satisfied the message was being delivered adequately or being accepted.
He also addressed the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), saying that entity also needed to continue its work despite any lack of funding or other difficulties.
“Let me also take this opportunity to charge CDEMA not to lose sight of its responsibilities. I understand your present challenges – [they are] no different from the challenges of many of our regional institutions unfortunately; they are challenges of funding, retention of personnel and structural challenges – I understand how frustrating they might be, I know you would like to be more responsive and I understand your fiscal challenges which might prevent you from doing more, but that is not to say that you can put your hands up in the air and say, ‘This task is beyond me’ because I want to reiterate the region needs CDEMA and a CDM response mechanism and cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that all of our growth and gains can be reduced by just one event,” he said. (CA)