Speaking at the opening ceremony, Premier and Minister with responsibility for Disaster Management, the Hon. Vance Amory, emphasised the importance of the workshop.
“We cannot be too prepared and we cannot take things for granted,” Premier Amory said. He continued by asking the participants to communicate the decisions of the workshop to the people of the country.
“I want to suggest that you would need to come to a conclusion on what is workable, what is desirable and also to ensure that when that plan has been established, has been designed, that it is communicated to all the people,” he said.
The main facilitators of Thursday’s workshop were two officials of CDEMA–Senior Programme Officer Sarah Lionel, and Mitigation and Preparedness Specialist Joanne Persad. According to Lionel the meeting was of special significance as it is a process, which is new to the entire region.
“St. Kitts and Nevis is actually the first country who is going to take the model and try and adapt it, to put it in their own context,” Lionel said.
Persad—in making comments to reporters—noted that it is important for the country to have an approach to evacuation whether it is for a storm, an earthquake, a tsunami or any other disaster.
“The whole point of this is, of course, ensuring that lives are saved and as much as possible St. Kitts-Nevis continues its protection …. against disasters,” she said.
Alison King-Joseph, an independent environmental consultant working with CDEMA , also participated in the workshop.
The one-day workshop—which attracted representatives from stakeholder organisations from both St. Kitts and Nevis—was hosted by the Nevis Disaster Management Department in conjunction with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).