The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is offering its extensive knowledge and experience in disaster risk management to other countries in the region.
Director General of ODPEM, Ronald Jackson, told JIS News that talks are underway to share Jamaica’s human resource capabilities with at least one other member state of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Authority (CDEMA).
He said although the talks are still preliminary, there is commitment on both sides and a willingness to move forward.
“I think you’re going to see some great strides made in that direction very soon. We want to give them a chance to formalise in their country before we announce it. We’ve done it before. We’ve deployed our teams to St. Kitts & Nevis, (and) to Dominica to help with training and capacity building and project management. So it’s not something new; but we’re spreading out a little more to some of the other countries,” he told JIS News.
Jamaica is an acknowledged leader in disaster risk management, with a long and proud history spanning more than 30 years, Mr. Jackson said, noting that the country is quite equipped and prepared to train others.
Currently, Jamaica is the focal point for the North-West Caribbean group of member states of CDEMA and is hosting a one-week meeting of the sub-group, which also involves Belize, the Bahamas, Haiti and the Turks and Cacios islands.
Mr. Jackson told JIS News that Jamaica was chosen as the leader, primarily because of its proven track record, its vast experience in dealing with tropical-based disasters, and its pro-activeness in offering help to other islands affected by disaster.
He contended that offering Jamaica’s expertise to other countries will strengthen the response at the national and regional levels.
“We’re looking at an opportunity to create synergies…and build capacity for regional response. It also strengthens your own capacity at the national level,” he stated.
By O. Rodger Hutchinson, JIS PRO