JIS News

The Ministry of National Security and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) will host the inaugural Resilient Policies on National Development (RESPOND) symposium from Wednesday (June 24) to Thursday (June 25).

The virtual two-day event will be facilitated by the Caribbean Military Academy (CMA), the academic arm of the JDF, and will be focused on the areas of health, security, and economic resilience. Cyber innovation and climate change will also be addressed.

Speaking with JIS News, Head of Research and Development for the CMA, Major Stacy-Ann Christian, said the symposium is geared towards providing solutions “as we move further along in this continuum with COVID-19 as well as any other disaster in the near or long-term”.

All the speakers will be addressing how we can become more resilient and responsive to issues, especially as we look at the economy, health and security,” she explained.

The event will see presentations from members of academia along with public- and private-sector experts and workshop sessions.

Keynote speakers will include the Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang; Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson; Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles; Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Carissa Etienne; and the Acting Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Elizabeth Riley.

Major Christian said members can expect discussions on various aspects of the main themes.

“In regard to security, we will be speaking to issues that we face in relation to COVID as well as other scenarios such as national disasters, so we will be exploring what that means for our infrastructure and how it can be actioned. For the economy, we will be addressing how to respond to the dilemmas that come with the new normal, and for health we will be focused on mental health and the psychosocial stressors that come from people losing their jobs as a result of the pandemic,” she explained.

“There will be breakout sessions where academics and experts will be looking at issues, especially coming out of the pandemic, and brainstorming to come up with a framework that can be used by any ministry or key stakeholders in moving forward and responding in an effective and timely manner,” she added.

She said that at the end of day two, there will be a presentation on the solutions that were recommended in the workshop sessions.

Members of the public can participate by clicking on the link to the virtual symposium, which will be posted (@mnsgovjm) and the JDF (@jdfsoldier) on the days of the event.

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