|Authored by:||Simon Lewis|
|Source:||Bahamas Information Services|
|Date:||May 6, 2016|
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama — Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville on Thursday expressed appreciation for the 2016 Disaster Management Workshop series currently underway on Grand Bahama island.
He told participants attending the opening ceremony at Freeport Harbour that it was a pleasure to be apart of this 2016 Disaster Management Workshop Series, under the theme, “Building Risk-Aware and Resilient Communities.”
“As we can probably all recall, in 2004, the island of Grand Bahama was greatly devastated by Hurricane Frances which sat on our island for almost three full days; followed by Hurricane Jean. Just a few short years later, Hurricane Wilma followed; and in 2015, the entire nation felt the effects of Hurricane Joaquin.
“As history would reveal, while the physical makeup and location of our island and nation has many benefits, these factors also make us susceptible to natural disasters, and their adverse effects.
“Consequently, the reality is that we not only have to concern ourselves with the possibility of potential attacks on the safety and security of our people, and outbreaks of deadly diseases, but we must be amply prepared to deal swiftly and effectively with natural disasters and their aftermath,” he stated.
Continuing, he told the gathering that Charles R. Swindoll once said, “life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”
“This reminds us that, while we cannot control the actions of those people who seek to harm us, or of natural acts that have devastating effects we can in fact control how we respond,” he said.
Further, he told the gathering that in order to build stronger and safer communities and islands, which translate to a stronger and safer country, it is important that we take a collaborative approach to address issues, especially those that can and may have national implications.
“I am pleased therefore, that this Disaster Management Workshop Series has evolved to integrate the wider array of risk factors that confront the region today, which include man-made disasters, pandemic/infectious disease, and cyber-crime.
“Additionally, this series is one that doesn’t seek to make response to natural disasters a private sector issue, nor public sector, but a shared responsibility of a national, regional, and global community; and one that focuses on the need to understand and establish private/public partnerships in disaster readiness.
“At the Ministry for Grand Bahama, we support this undertaking. In fact, in 2015, we were pleased to work alongside our public and private sectors in the Grand Bahama Community; to organize and streamline effective hurricane relief efforts, in order to assist those affected by Hurricane Joaquin in our southern islands,” he said.
Closing, the Minister congratulated the collaborating partners and the host committee for putting on this important event, and for their drive, which they share with the Government of The Bahamas, to make our people and communities more resilient, more healthy, more successful and altogether stronger.
“I also wish to encourage the residents of Grand Bahama to continue to get informed, get involved, and be prepared,” he stated.
Tropical Shipping is one of the key sponsors of the series.
Also addressing Thursday’s gathering were: Kevin Seymour, President of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce; Ian Rolle, President of the Grand Bahama Port Authority; Tammi Mitchell, Co-Chairman of the Grand Bahama Disaster Consultative Committee; Professor Roy Watlington (retired), University of the Virgin Islands/Member of Caribbean Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing System; and Dr. Barry Miskin, Co-Director of Jupiter Medical Center’s Joe Namath Neurological Research Center.