JIS News

Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Ronald Jackson, is appealing to young people to join the Preparedness and Emergency Response Corps (PERC).
“We are looking for members from all the various clubs, the 4-H, the Key Club, the Student Council Union and the Environmental Club, among others, to come on board.
It is an opportunity for you to contribute to your communities, it is an opportunity for you to champion disaster management. But more importantly, the value of PERC will be seen long beyond when you leave high school,” Mr. Jackson said.
He was speaking at the launch of the Emergency Response Initiative (ERI) and the graduation of the first batch of 100 participants in PERC, at the St. Mary High School in Highgate, St. Mary. Their main area of training was in Disaster Management.
“Some of the things that we are doing in our communities, some of the bad practices, how we deal with issues relating to risk reduction, can only be changed through changing the culture of our people through education. We are hoping that with education, the transfer of the knowledge to our young people through PERC and through some of the other programmes that we are doing, we will see them grow through the school system to become responsible young people and people who see disaster risk reduction as a way of life and not something that ODPEM speaks about during the hurricane season,” Mr. Jackson said.
He emphasised that disaster risk reduction should be practised throughout the year.
Turning to the nation’s young men who he lamented seem to have lost their focus in life, the Director General said that PERC was there to help “redeem” them.
“Far too often we hear the comments about our young men not doing enough and not standing up and taking their positions in the communities and I feel that PERC will contribute. There are many benefits of PERC in terms of lifting and elevating our young men and our young people back to the places they should be in society,” he said.
Mr. Jackson said it is the intention of ODPEM to build the PERC programme islandwide, so that many other young persons can benefit from all that it has to offer.

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