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$8m headquarters for CDEMA

marciadottin, [email protected]

$8m headquarters for CDEMA

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THE CARIBBEAN Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is building a state-of-the-art $8 million headquarters that includes a training facility, offices and a warehouse.
The construction project started Monday at Lears, St Michael, on land leased from Government, and is expected to last about a year.
At the ground-breaking ceremony, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said CDEMA was important if the region was to continue to “build resilient communities and to withstand whatever disasters will befall us from time to time”.
He said Hurricane Katrina in 2005 had shown how important it was to coordinate disaster relief efforts, because years after the event charges were still being made of aid not reaching those it was intended for, the most vulnerable.
“If you have all of the aid in the world and you have an event and there is no proper coordination, [relief efforts] will come to naught,” he said.
He also said it was important to have efforts aimed at disaster prevention and mitigation because natural disasters could wipe out 25 to 50 years of economic and other gains for countries.
Noting that CDEMA and a number of other Caribbean regional institutions were “challenged financially”, he urged CDEMA’s regional partners to ensure the institution “is able to discharge its mandate”. It was “important for us to be able to respond to disasters, whether they be man-made or otherwise”, Brathwaite added.
He said the new CDEMA building would not only be multi-purpose but capable of withstanding hazards.
He predicted that at some point Barbados would face a major hazard and said it was important the island had structures built to withstand them.
CDEMA’s executive director Ronald Jackson said the Caribbean was an area with a high vulnerability to a variety of hazards with the potential “to significantly impact upon and reverse development gains that we have achieved over many years” individually and collectively at the community and national levels.
Senior defence attache at the United States Embassy, Commander Michael Long, said the new headquarters would allow CDEMA flexibility for future expansion.
The project would greatly increase CDEMA’s ability to prepare for, manage and respond to regional disasters, he told the gathering.
Sigma Construction Inc. are the contractors for the project. (TY)