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Let me be bold and suggest that this CDEMA/IMPACS partnership is a direct legacy of the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean. In many ways it represents the consolidation and formalization of a relationship spawned by that competition.

Like many recent post 911 developments, there has been a re-articulation of the frameworks for national contingency planning which seek to bridge the actors and practices of safety and security in a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

As is generally the norm in our institutional developments, the region has had to revisit its approach to the planning and management of this global event (Cricket World Cup) to embrace the new dictates of a world concerned about terrorism and management of its consequences.

We are pleased to note that the marginalization of emergency management professionals that was very evident at the beginning of that process has now been considerably mitigated, though reluctantly, in some quarters.

This MOU deepens and strengthens the framework for better, speedier access to aid effective use of the assets of the disciplined services for crises requiring the triggering of the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) which CDEMA manages on behalf of the CARICOM.

It seeks to build on the infrastructure already developed around the Regional Security System (RSS). We anticipate that this capability that has served us well for the last 20years will be kernel of our enhanced capability.

The MOU will also provide a mechanism for rationalizing the many and similar mandates provided to the RSS and IMPACS  with respect to emergency response.

Even as we move to strengthen the regional response coordination architecture, we recognize that unfunded mandates will be a key challenge. Whilst we have a well laid out response structure, inadequacy and unpredictability of available assets is a significant challenge. The training and practicing of our response actions is also subject to uncertainty due to persistent resource uncertainty.

The region may wish to consider whether at this stage of political development we should be outsourcing responsibility for key elements our community functionality.

The saying that in a dark cloud there is a silver lining is very true in this circumstance. The proposal, led by IMPACS, to examine how appropriately tailored fees for border control services can be harvested to fund the regions safety and security agenda requires serious deliberation and consideration. It may present a real opportunity to provide some equity in our dialogue with partners in this area of the new development discourse.

As we move to broaden the tourism product offerings to include more and larger festivals as well as sports events, the issues of safety and security will become even more critical to our contingency planning mechanisms. Community standards for e event planning, facility design and operations, mass causality planning and security provisions must be formalized and enforced. The earlier embryonic effort towards a CARICOM “Green Guide” for such purposes needs to be resuscitated. This partnership provides an institutional space for moving forward.
Finally, let me thank the Executive Director of IMPACS, Ms. Lyn-Anne Williams for keeping the blood flowing in the vein of this safety and security pact.

We look forward to many more years of fruitful collaboration.

 

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