14 State Entities Targeted Under Continuity of Government Operations Plan

Photo: Michael Sloley Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (centre), converses with Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Director General, Major Clive Davis (2 nd left), during the Jamaica-Mexico Bilateral Cooperation Programme stakeholders’ meeting at ODPEM’s New Kingston head office on June 23. Others (from left) are: Mexico’s Ambassador to Jamaica, Her Excellency Martha Cecelia Jaber; Director General of the National Centre for Disaster Preparedness in Mexico (CENAPRED), Dr. Carlos Gonzales; and Consultant for the scoping mission of the governance continuity strategy development project, Ana Lucia Hill.

Story Highlights

  • An initial 14 Ministries and State agencies will benefit from capacity support to ensure continuity of Government operations in the event that the island is impacted by a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane.
  • This is under the 2016/17 Jamaica-Mexico Bilateral Cooperation Programme, which is being spearheaded by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) with technical support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Kingston.
  • UNDP Resident Representative in Jamaica, Bruno Pouezat, said the collaboration between Jamaica and Mexico is indicative of South-South Cooperation for the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between developing countries.

An initial 14 Ministries and State agencies will benefit from capacity support to ensure continuity of Government operations in the event that the island is impacted by a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane.

This is under the 2016/17 Jamaica-Mexico Bilateral Cooperation Programme, which is being spearheaded by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) with technical support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Kingston.

The programme entails the implementation of projects in 13 areas including agriculture, the environment and disaster prevention. It also involves the training of key personnel.

ODPEM’s Director General, Major Clive Davis, said the entities chosen are critical in maintaining the functions of the Cabinet and wider Government during a disaster.

They include the Office of the Prime Minister; Office of the National Security Advisor; Ministry of Health; Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; National Works Agency (NWA); Attorney General’s Chambers; Jamaica Fire Brigade, Ministry of National Security; Ministry of Local Government and Community Development; Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology; Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ); and Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.

Major Davis, who was addressing a stakeholders’ meeting on the cooperation programme at ODPEM’s New Kingston head office recently, said the entities were assessed by Special Consultant, Ana Lucia Hill, during a week-long scoping mission that concluded on June 23.

 

The mission was to determine the entities’ state-of-readiness to effect the measures necessary in order to bring them up to the required operational standards. Major Davis said the decision to initially focus on public sector bodies was deliberate in order to determine “what we have in-house, first of all.”

He said another scoping mission is likely, which would target additional entities.

He said that once an entity provides national service, whether public or private, they will be engaged.

He noted for example that Sangster International Airport, while privately operated, will be targeted as it provides a critical service.

Major Davis advised that ODPEM has received a preliminary report from Ms. Hill, which would be discussed with Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, who has portfolio responsibility for ODPEM, and representatives of the 14 entities “to see where we go next.”

Mexico’s Ambassador to Jamaica, Her Excellency Martha Cecilia Jaber, who spoke at the meeting, noted that disaster risk management is critical to Latin American and Caribbean countries.

She noted that the administration of Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, has given priority to working closely with Caribbean states in this area as it seeks to identify new areas of cooperation and exchange.

Ambassador Jaber said it was within this framework of cooperation that Mexico has collaborated with Jamaica in developing the governance continuity strategy.

Minister McKenzie, for his part, conveyed the gratitude of the Government and citizens of Jamaica to Mexico for the support in developing the plan, and expressed the hope that the countries’ collaboration in this and other areas will be enhanced.

He noted the importance of ensuring continuity of governance during and in the aftermath of a major natural disaster.

 

UNDP Resident Representative in Jamaica, Bruno Pouezat, said the collaboration between Jamaica and Mexico is indicative of South-South Cooperation for the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between developing countries.

“The ODPEM, on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, requested technical support from UNDP to develop a continuity of governance plan…and we knew where to turn, as Mexico has both the expertise and the expressed interest to support countries in the region to reduce disaster risk. We are happy that the Government of Mexico responded so favourably to the request of the Government of Jamaica,” Mr. Pouezat said.

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