Two CARICOM agencies have come together to fight crime and provide a quicker response to natural disasters in the region.
The CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
IMPACS Executive Director Lynne Anne Williams identified several ways the MOU would enhance the coordination for future interventions among them: Establish a civil-military infrastructure to manage the consequences of natural disasters and other regional threats, establish shared programs to develop and upgrade the tools and capacity of this and other response infrastructure and elaborating protocols to define operational roles in CARICOM’s regional response.
She said the “ultimate goal” was enhancing the region’s capacity to mobilize and coordinate collective responses “not just to natural disasters but to all emergency situations.”
Williams said the global reality of the past two decades has taught that security was important in disaster management and disaster management was important in matters of security.
Recently retired CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington who spoke at the signing ceremony said he had been involved in planning and staffing of IMPACS and his relationship with CDEMA grew in Haiti after it was devastated by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake.
He said at the end of the day the critical thing is not just improving the lives of people but saving them.
CDEMA is a CARICOM institution, which co-ordinates disaster response and recovery operations in the region, while IMPAC is a part of CARICOM’s crime and security agenda.