The Virgin Islands has earned re-accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Programme (EMAP) due to its continued adherence to a high standard of disaster management.
In an announcement issued on January 26, the VI was listed among “elite leaders in emergency management,” by EMAP, which evaluates emergency management programmes worldwide according to a 66-point rubric encompassing all phases of the disaster management cycle.
His Excellency the Governor John Rankin CMG offered congratulations to the Territory for meeting all 66 standard areas, indicating that the VI has maintained a high level of readiness since accreditation status was first achieved in 2015.
Governor Rankin said, “Re-accreditation recognises that the Virgin Islands has been able to continually improve its disaster management programme. I congratulate colleagues in the Department of Disaster Management and all others who have worked so hard to achieve this outcome. As Governor, the safety and security of the Territory remains my top priority.”
Premier Dr. the Honourable Natalio Wheatley likewise called the recognition worthy of celebrating, particularly as the Virgin Islands joins Ottawa in Ontario, Canada and the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as the only three accredited programmes outside of the United States.
“I am tremendously proud of this significant recognition for the Virgin Islands,” the Premier said, adding, “As a people, we were proud to become the first Caribbean jurisdiction to hold this prestigious recognition. Re-accreditation confirms that we have remained steadfast and committed to emergency planning and disaster management. Additionally, re-accreditation confirms that our disaster management initiatives in place stand among the highest calibre of programmes in the world.”
Deputy Governor David D. Archer Jr. also extended congratulations to the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and to colleagues throughout the Public Service for stepping up to the challenge of comprehensive disaster management.
“Well done to Mr. Jasen Penn and his team at DDM, and to all our public officers who share in this honour,” Mr. Archer said. He said the process for re-accreditation began in 2020, and required representatives from across the Public Service to submit evidence documenting how the Territory has maintained compliance with each standard area.
“Re-accreditation was an exercise in holding ourselves accountable to the people of the Virgin Islands. I am very proud that we were able to demonstrate that we have a world class Public Service, delivering a truly world class disaster management programme,” Mr. Archer said.
Meanwhile, Director of Disaster Management Jasen Penn said he was pleased to have the Territory recognised for its adherence to such a high standard, and thanked public officers and VI residents for their ongoing diligence and support in achieving this status.
“A strength for us as a Territory is that we take disaster management very seriously, whether we are at home, school or work. That commitment means that the VI is in a position to respond well and recover quickly in case of any future impacts,” he said.
EMAP’s Commission Chair Angee Morgan called a consecutive accreditation a significant achievement. Ms. Morgan congratulated the Virgin Islands for maintaining their accredited status and for having gone through a second accreditation process successfully.
“Through their commitment and leadership, the British Virgin Islands have proven to their communities and stakeholders that BVI disaster management is sustainable, and that they continue to focus on the communities' best interests,” Ms. Morgan stated.
EMAP’s accreditation process evaluates emergency management programmes in sixteen broad areas, including administration and finance; laws and authorities; hazard identification; risk assessment; hazard mitigation; prevention; operational planning and procedures; incident management; resource management; mutual aid and logistics; communications and warning; facilities; training; exercises; and emergency public information and education.
EMAP is the only accreditation body for emergency management programmes worldwide.