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  • The Government is committed to ensuring that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is adequately resourced and supported to carry out its functions.
  • Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, gave the assurance during an address to management and staff of ODPEM at the entity’s Haining Road head office in Kingston on March 17.
  • Mr. McKenzie said ODPEM, based on its role in disaster preparedness and emergency management, “should never be found wanting in terms of resources, whether human, financial or otherwise.”

The Government is committed to ensuring that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is adequately resourced and supported to carry out its functions.

Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, gave the assurance during an address to management and staff of ODPEM at the entity’s Haining Road head office in Kingston on March 17.

Mr. McKenzie said ODPEM, based on its role in disaster preparedness and emergency management, “should never be found wanting in terms of resources, whether human, financial or otherwise.”

“I want to thank you for the work that you do. Jamaica should acknowledge your work…and applaud you for the efforts that you have made in pursuit of protecting the wider country during times of disaster. I am committed to working with you,” he noted.

For his part, ODPEM Director General, Major Clive Davis, assured the Minister that the agency is fully committed to carrying out its responsibilities.

He informed that the agency is in the process of reviewing its operational plan, “with a view of ensuring that it is achievable.”

“There will be a heavy bias this (new) financial year on our internal processes, building capacity at the local level, and improving our own ability to coordinate the national response arms and agencies,” he outlined.

Additionally, the Director General said the agency intends to present its Disaster Risk Management Policy for Cabinet approval, adding that “we anticipate that our national volunteer programme will be fully established.”

Major Davis pointed out that ODPEM, which is in its 35th year of existence, boasts a team of specialist, administrators, and disaster risk management practitioners, who “continue to provide yeoman service, not only to Jamaica, but to the region as a whole.”

This, he added, is “consistent…with our vision of being a proactive world-class agency” dedicated to “building a disaster-resilient nation and region.”

The visit by Mr. McKenzie, which also included a meeting with ODPEM’s management team, was part of a series of familiarisation tours of agencies under his portfolio.