Mitigation Minister, Hon. Vincent Byron, (Attorney General) has proposed an increase in the number of times that the Mitigation Council meets with stakeholders, each year. The amendment was announced during the 2019 meeting of the Council which took place on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019. The Council traditionally meets once a year in May, allowing subcommittees and other stakeholders to report on their state of readiness to respond to impending threat or in the event of disaster.
Presentations were made by Subcommittee Chairpersons representing the ten subcommittees which would support the National Disaster Plan, should the National Emergency Operations Centre be activated in response to a disaster.
In his remarks, Minister Byron also suggested that each subcommittee, particularly those operating within the public sector, should develop and maintain Recovery Plans that include recommendations to the Council on national priorities as they relate to Recovery and Rehabilitation.
National Disaster Coordinator Abdias Samuel has been encouraging subcommittee Chairpersons to begin their preparedness meetings with their membership as far back as February of this year.
“One of our challenges each year,” Samuel has said,” Is with the mobilisation of subcommittees in order to begin preparedness activities and to accurately report on them at the Mitigation Council Level.”
To that end, NEMA Planning Officer, Mrs. Oureika Lennon-Petty has been charged with bringing subcommittees up to speed by providing assistance in event planning and overall guidance on their Terms of Reference and membership.
“This intervention has made such a difference in what we have been able to achieve as a coordinating agency,” Mrs. Lennon-Petty said, “recognising that public sector Chairpersons are often tested by the need to accomplish day to day tasks in their own offices while managing their responsibilities related to their roles on the National Disaster Plan.”
Specially invited guests Mrs. Josephine Huggins, Cabinet Secretary, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Osmond Petty and National Security Advisor, General Stewart Saunders were also in attendance at the meeting.
The Mitigation Council comprises the following groups or persons, from the noted sectors:
a) The Attorney General, Chairman – on behalf of the Hon. Prime Minister
b) PSs – Government Ministries (ALL)
e) St Kitts-Nevis Police Force
f) St Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF)
g) St Kitts-Nevis Fire and Rescue Services
h) Department of Public Works
i) St Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority
j) Nevis Air and Sea Ports Authority
k) HR Department
l) Water Services Dept.
NON – GOVERNMENT ORGANISATIONS
a) SKN Red Cross Society
b) Amateur Radio Society
c) St Christopher’s Heritage Society
d) St Kitts Christian Council
e) Seventh Day Adventists
f) St Kitts Evangelical Association
g) Nevis Evangelical Association
h) Hotel & Tourism Association
a) Private Oil Companies
b) St Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry & Commerce
c) Media Houses
f) Service Clubs
g) SKN Contractors Association
i) The Cable
Among it’s functions, the Mitigation Council is required to:
– guide the disaster mitigation activities in St. Kitts-Nevis
– ensure coordination and compatibility between disaster mitigation activities in St. Kitts and Nevis.
– review the National Disaster Plan, make amendments and recommend it to Cabinet for approval
– review and approve disaster management legislation, policies and strategy.
– ensure hazards, vulnerabilities and risks are properly mapped and that a data base exists for effective management action.
– ensure warning systems and mechanisms are established in St. Kitts-Nevis.
– review and approve hazard specific disaster response plans
– review and approve sectorial disaster management plans
– review and approve district disaster plans
– review and approve public education and awareness strategies and campaigns
– review and approve training and simulation exercise national programmes
– evaluate the disaster management activities in St. Kitts-Nevis
– review and approve mitigation plans and programmes
– review and approve hazard and vulnerability mapping
– review and approve resources (human, material and financial) for disaster management in St. Kitts-Nevis
– provide guidelines and policies for the establishment and operations of a contingency fund
– coordinate with CDEMA CU for all activities related to disaster response during emergencies and disasters in the region.
– evaluate the response after emergencies and disasters
– ensure damage and needs assessments are conducted after disasters
– review and approve projects for reconstruction after disasters.