Reflection, Introspection and Moving Forward: 6th Caribbean Conference on CDM begins in Port of Spain

The 6th Annual Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management officially opened on Tuesday December 06 at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, Trinidad. This conference, which is being conducted under the theme Reflection, Introspection and Moving Forward, brings together disaster management professionals from Trinidad and Tobago, the region and countries as far as Cook Islands. Through the collaborative efforts of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and other local, regional and international partners, conference delegates will be exposed to professional development sessions, four days of plenary sessions, a High Level Session, a Youth Session, a Film Festival and a conference tour which will explore the dynamics of vulnerability along Trinidad’s western coastline.

In addition to reflecting and assessing the Enhanced Comprehensive Disaster Management Framework for the region, the conference also aims:

  • to promote good practice;
  • share ongoing research;  and
  • chart the way forward for the advancement of the CDM in the Caribbean as well as provide the opportunity for networking among disaster management actors.

The opening ceremony of this premier regional event, set the tone for the conference and for profound discussions and sessions on Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM). At this launch, attendees were addressed by Andria Grosvenor, Conference Chair; Dr. Stephen Ramroop, ODPM CEO and Conference Co Chair; Myrna Bernard of the CARICOM Social Development Directorate; Her Excellency Karen McDonald, High Commissioner of Canada to Trinidad and Tobago, Jeremy Collymore, Executive Director of CDEMA and Judy Thomas, the longest serving disaster coordinator in the Caribbean region. The Key Note Address, was delivered by Senator the Honourable Brigadier John Sandy under whose remit the ODPM falls.

In her welcoming remarks, Conference Chair, Andria Grosvenor indicated “As we contemplate the theme of this year’s conference, we must look deep inside to assess the shortcomings, gaps and challenges that we encountered as a region in implementing the Enhanced Comprehensive Disaster Management framework.” She further encouraged attendees who she referred to as the CDM Parliament to let “your voice be heard” during the conference.

Dr. Stephen Ramroop, Conference Co-Chair and CEO of the ODPM welcomed all delegates to Trinidad and Tobago and indicated that “this annual conference, considered as the Caribbean’s premier disaster management event, has been extremely successful over the last five years due to the outcomes and realised goals” therefore “we must ensure that collaborations are established in order to enhance our approaches for mainstreaming disaster risk management at the policy level.”

In delivering remarks on behalf of the CARICOM Secretary General, Myrna Bernard indicated that “the success of comprehensive disaster management is contingent on national adoption and implementation of plans and policies.” Jeremy Collymore, Executive Director of CDEMA echoed this statement by affirming that “whilst progress is noted, there is still a need to garner sustained political support for resourcing the programming required to alter our growing vulnerability. The recent global episodes of catastrophic events, pandemic and the threats from climate change are making the subject of disaster risk management a global one.”

Senator the Honourable Brigadier General John Sandy affirmed that “Disaster risk reduction must guide our practices and be part of everyday decision making. It must be included in planning, policy creation, finance and education. Moreover, we must realise that any decision we make with regard to disaster risk reduction can either make us weaker or stronger; more resilient or more vulnerable.” In addition to congratulating CDEMA on its 20 years of work in the advancement of comprehensive disaster management in the region, Minister Sandy reiterated “Government’s commitment to working with CDEMA and other regional disaster management officers to create appropriate strategies to minimize the harsh impacts of all hazards on our landscape.”

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management remains committed to implementing strategies geared toward preparedness and mitigation so that we can ultimately create a culture of safety and resilience in Trinidad and Tobago.

About CDM

The CDM is the regional contribution to the United Nations’ International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s (UNISDR) Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, a blueprint for global action in Disaster Risk Reduction. For more information on CDM, visit or .

For further information, please contact:
Dike G. Noel,
Public Information Specialist
868 486 8251
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency
Resilience Way,Lower Estate
St. Michael, Barbados
Tel. no. (246) 434-4880; Fax no. (246) 271-3660


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