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    • Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has issued a call for volunteers from western parishes to participate in the Seventh Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP20).
    • Addressing a sensitisation session at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre on Thursday (Nov. 21), Minister McKenzie noted that the support of volunteers is important for the successful staging of the event. 
    • Minister McKenzie said that persons chosen are expected to “represent the country well.  You will have to be a face that is seen, a face that is respected.” 

    Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has issued a call for volunteers from western parishes to participate in the Seventh Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP20).

    The three-day conference will be held from July 8 to 10 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

    Addressing a sensitisation session at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre on Thursday (Nov. 21), Minister McKenzie noted that the support of volunteers is important for the successful staging of the event. 

    “Any international conference relies on the support of volunteers. Your interaction with the delegates is going to be very critical. In many cases, you have more interactions with the delegates than (officials) do, because in terms of information and providing assistance, we rely heavily on you for that service,” he noted.

    Minister McKenzie said that persons chosen are expected to “represent the country well.  You will have to be a face that is seen, a face that is respected.” 

    Volunteers are needed in areas such as accommodation, airport arrivals and departures, administration, among others, and persons are required to sign up by December. 

    Volunteers will be drawn from the Social Development Commission (SDC) and existing school volunteer programmes. 

    Persons chosen will be screened and then trained during workshops, which are scheduled to begin in February of next year. 

    “We are looking for persons, who can speak a little Spanish, a little French, a little Afrikaans and most importantly, a lot of English because we do not want a situation where we find that our volunteers are not in sync with the programme,” the Minister said. 

    He noted that persons must also be knowledgeable about the island, as well as disaster management. 

    Those selected will be paid a stipend and provided with transportation. They will be given shirts in the Jamaican colours, which should be worn with black pants or skirt. 

    Volunteers will be required to be at the conference venue a day before the start of the event for a briefing. 

    Thursday’s sensitisation session gave persons the opportunity to sign up with the SDC to be volunteers. 

    Hanover resident volunteer, Doneil Allen, who was among the signees, told JIS News that she is looking to “gain experience and exposure to an international event.”

    She said she is interested in working in the area of administration “because I am doing an administrative assistant (course) at (Kenilworth Academy), so I already have a feel of what to do in that area.”

    Meanwhile, Deon McLaughlin from Glendevon in St. James outlined that he was going to sign up for the airport arrivals and departures, and administrative areas. 

    “It would be a pleasure to work as a volunteer during this (conference), because I believe that it should be everybody’s business to play a role in ensuring that our country is safer and to be proactive where disaster management is concerned.”

    The Regional Platform, which will review progress made on disaster risk  reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean, is being jointly organised by the Government of Jamaica, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).