Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE is extending congratulations to the Department of Disaster Management for leading the BVI on the journey to become the first Territory in the Caribbean to be granted international accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Programme (EMAP).
The Virgin Islands is also the first outside of the United States and Canada, to receive the accolade. Premier Smith said the accreditation is significant to the British Virgin Islands in its efforts to ensure that sustainable practices are incorporated within development plans.
He said that it illustrates that the Government is continuing to contribute to a programme aimed at ensuring improved resilience within our communities.
“I was impressed to learn that the National Disaster Management Programme had been able to achieve all 64 EMAP standards and was able to gain the commission’s approval for full accreditation,” Premier Smith said.
Premier Smith added, “It has been known for many years that the National Disaster Management Programme in the BVI has stood out among regional and international programmes and has been recognised for its achievements and its contribution towards safer, healthier and greener development initiatives.”
This accreditation validates the successes of the programme and proves its evolution to now be recognised globally. In addition, Premier Smith commended the department for its diligent efforts.
He said, “The process by no means has been an easy path, but the persistence of the DDM team and the support given by sector leads, have ensured that disaster management remains a priority for the Government.”
Premier Smith stated that Government clearly understands the need for the National Disaster Management Programme to be engaged in continuous review and improvement of its quality, that it meets endorsed standards in the profession, and that it is effectively carrying out its mandate.
He added that Government is accountable to the people of the BVI and the many stakeholders and partners who contribute to improved community-based resiliency
This accreditation achievement proves that the National Disaster Management Programme is being implemented in keeping with internationally acceptable standards.
EMAP accreditation provides a unique opportunity for the Territory to show the world that it is doing the right things to prepare for potential hazard impacts in a transparent manner that takes into consideration the need to protect its people and its environment.
Premier Smith further added that as the accreditation is celebrated,, achievements such as these are not possible without strong champions. He recognised and commended Mr. Elton Georges, a former Deputy Governor who ensured that disaster management remained on the agenda of Government leaders.
Mr. Georges was instrumental in grooming many of disaster management directors and establishing a department aimed at focusing on the subject. Premier Smith also thanked him for his pioneering role.
Premier Smith encouraged the people of the Territory to be proud of the disaster management team for their leadership and their efforts to ensure that the BVI is recognised among international peers for its excellence in disaster management.