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  • Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Colette Roberts Risden, says the country’s social protection programmes are moving towards increasing the standard of living and income of the vulnerable, as a means of building disaster resilience.
  • “The fact is, if we can raise their standard of living, their income, level of saving and education… in the long term, by doing all these things, we would have equipped individuals with the capacity that in the aftermath of a [disaster], their recovery is not slow but faster, and that is where a lot of our social programmes and systems are heading now,” Mrs. Roberts Risden said.
  • She was speaking at the first Shock-Responsive Social Protection in the Caribbean Regional Symposium, in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, on June 27.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Colette Roberts Risden, says the country’s social protection programmes are moving towards increasing the standard of living and income of the vulnerable, as a means of building disaster resilience.

“The fact is, if we can raise their standard of living, their income, level of saving and education… in the long term, by doing all these things, we would have equipped individuals with the capacity that in the aftermath of a [disaster], their recovery is not slow but faster, and that is where a lot of our social programmes and systems are heading now,” Mrs. Roberts Risden said.

She was speaking at the first Shock-Responsive Social Protection in the Caribbean Regional Symposium, in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, on June 27.

Mrs. Roberts Risden was taking part in a panel discussion, which focused on regional examples of the use of social protection for emergency preparedness and response.

“What we are doing now, through our various social programmes, is [looking at] how it is that we provide our population with labour market interventions and with micro enterprise activities, so that we can build their own resilience, because the governments of the region and all our donors can never provide the kind of support to truly rebuild families,” the Permanent Secretary said.

Mrs. Roberts Risden was sharing the example of Jamaica’s vertical expansion of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to provide immediate emergency relief after a disaster.

“You can’t just sit back and react. We have to prepare and build our communities because if we do, that means we will be able to get back to normal in a shorter time,” she told the delegates.

The symposium was hosted by the World Food Programme and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), in collaboration with the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The event brought together regional Ministers for social protection, disaster management and tourism, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of disaster management agencies to share information on how to protect and assist the poor and vulnerable locally and regionally as a pathway to disaster resilience.

The forum was a precursor to the Ninth Meeting of CDEMA, today (June 28).