Sunday, 20 August 2017

PM Minnis remarks @ NEMA official visit

Nassau, Bahamas - Commonwealth of The Bahamas Remarks on The Occasion Official Visit of Dr. The Hon. Hubert A. Minnis, M.P.Prime Minister at National Emergency Management Agency, Gladstone Road And Nema Way on Monday, May 29, 2017:

It is my pleasure to visit with you this morning.  Permit me to express my profound appreciation to each of you for years of dedicated and outstanding service to our nation.  I am particularly grateful for your outstanding work in preparation for, and in the aftermath of Hurricanes Joaquin and Matthew.

As a result of your hard work and proactive measures, there were no loss of lives, save one in Andros, who is believed to have suffered a heart attack.  We are three days away from another Hurricane Season (Thursday, June 1, 2017).  I want to take this opportunity to caution you NOT to let your guard down.

You are aware that NEMA was created to better coordinate disaster preparedness and recovery activities among government agencies, Family Islands, local government authorities.

Although all indicators suggest that 2017 Hurricane Season should be a moderate one, I remind you to adhere to the core duties of your agency. These include:

1.  Receive and assess the various programmes, and activities of the Government of The Bahamas which have an impact on the mitigation of preparedness, for response to and recovery from emergencies and disaster in The Bahamas;

2.  Make recommendations to the Prime Minister on the likely activities and programmes on disaster preparedness and coordination;

3.  Develop and recommend to the Prime Minister, national policies to foster and promote the mitigation of preparedness for response to and recovery from emergencies and disaster in the Bahamas;

4.  In collaboration with government or other agencies, gather timely and authoritative information concerning the conditions and trends in the quality of the environment, both current and prospective as these relate to the likelihood of disaster in The Bahamas;

5.  Prepare and review disaster risk assessment maps of the Bahamas.

6.  Conduct programmes of public information and education on the mitigation of preparedness for response to and recovery from emergencies and disasters.

7.  Liaise with individuals, institutions and organizations within and without The Bahamas for the purpose of exchanging information and facilitating the harmonization of the policies of such persons and organizations with those of the Government of The Bahamas.

As you finalize or should I say put the final touches for this year’s hurricane season, I wish to advise you to place special emphasis on the following: -

 
 i.         Improve Your Messaging: - make use of all media tools to disseminate information in preparation of an unexpected storm. i.e. radio, television, facebook, twitter, bill boards etc.  I particularly emphasize the use of social media, which will allow you to connect directly and immediately with Bahamians and residents throughout the country.

   ii.         Re-activate your Hurricane Committee: - in all Family Island districts.  You may wish to consider hurricane sub-committee by districts or zones in New Providence and Grand Bahama;

 iii.         Re-activate your Inter Agency Committees: in order to ensure proper coordination;
 

iv.         Ensure you have the Tools and Equipment: - to act in the event of emergency. I refer to handheld radios communication sets etc., stand by generators, emergency vehicles and personnel;

 
v.         Review all Evacuation Plans:

 
vi.         Coordinate with relevant Government Agencies: - For example, a well-coordinated and aggressive tree trimming programme should be carried out;

 

vii.         Review Hurricane Preparation Plan: - with utility provider and essential quasi- government agencies such as Bahamas Power and Light, Bahamas Telecommunications Company and Water and Sewerage.

viii.         As part of your Inter Agency Meetings: - you should along with relevant government agencies/partners clear/unclog water drains.

 ix.         Cause Inventories should be Carried Out: - with respect to emergency building supplies.
 

 x.         Hold Community Meetings: - to apprise residents of your plans.  The people want to hear from you. A plan on paper without action is useless.  There has to be greater collaboration between you and the community.

 
I encourage you to continue and complete all repairs which are in progress.  Please bring all such projects to completion before you commence new repairs.  I wish for you to provide the Office of the Prime Minister a report of the remaining houses to be repaired post-Hurricane Matthew.
 
I am aware that you have not commenced your new housing program since Matthew.  I hope you can start to rebuild homes shortly as I understand a number of people are without homes.
 
We have much work to do and must redouble our efforts to in the shortest period of time, to bring relief and comfort to those hurting.

Thank you for your warm reception, and I look forward to working with team NEMA.  Good afternoon.

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