Climate Change Vulnerability: OECD head meets with Prime Minister Allen Chastanet

Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Hon. Allen Chastanet and OECD Secretary General, His Excellency Angel Gurria

St. Lucia News Online – With climate change reality confronting the Caribbean, OECS Chairman and Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Hon. Allen Chastanet has met with the Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary General H.E Angel Gurria to examine ways in which to bolster Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the region.

The meeting comes in the wake of three disastrous hurricanes, two of which decimated Dominica, the British Virgin Islands, Barbuda and Puerto Rico.

Speaking from OECD Headquarters in Paris, Prime Minister Chastanet said unprecedented events suggested that a new era of climate reality was upon the Caribbean and that an enhanced international development assistance framework was urgently needed to combat what was likely to be severe growing threats to the region.

“As one Caribbean family spread across Small Island Developing States (SIDS), we don’t lack resilience but we do lack disaster management resources and the meetings I have had with Secretary General Gurria has proven fruitful in fortifying OECD assistance” said Prime Minister Chastanet. (more…)

Greater resilience necessary to confront ‘new normal’ – CARICOM Secretary-General at agriculture meeting

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, makes remarks at the Opening of the 71st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) Agriculture, at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana.
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, makes remarks at the Opening of the 71st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) Agriculture, at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana.

The catastrophic hurricanes that ripped through Caribbean territories recently were likely to be the “new normal”, and provided the evidence of the reality of climate change, Caribbean Community Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said Friday.

The impact of the storms also pointed to the need for the Region to build greater resilience to face the new normal, Ambassador LaRocque said.

He was at the time delivering remarks at the opening of the 71st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on agriculture that convened Friday morning at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana. The Meeting is being held as the Region is grappling with the devastating effects of two Category Five Hurricanes – Irma and Maria – on some CARICOM Member States and Associate Members.

The Ministers of Agriculture have prioritised climate change, risk management, building resilience and climate smart agriculture agenda over the day long session.

“These climatic events of the past month were unprecedented.  Never before have two category five storms ravaged the Region in one season.  Never before has a hurricane moved from category one to category five inside 36 hours as Hurricane Maria did.  Events like these are likely to be the new normal and provide proof positive of the reality of climate change”, the Secretary-General said.

Delegates at the opening of the Meeting
Delegates at the opening of the Meeting

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Special Meeting of CARICOM Agriculture Ministers convenes Friday

The Meeting of Officials of the 71st Special Meeting of the Council for trade and Economic Development (COTED) underway at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana, 4 October, 2017
The Meeting of Officials of the 71st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) underway at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana, 4 October, 2017

The 71st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Agriculture will be held on Friday, 6 October, 2017, at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.

The Hon. Soeresh Algoe, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries of Suriname, Chair of the Meeting, the Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture of Guyana, and CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, will make remarks at the Opening.

Representatives of the media are invited to cover the following:

Event: Opening Session, 71st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development on Agriculture

Date: 6 October, 2017

Time: 09:00 hrs

Venue: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana

 

Kindly make every effort to be present at least 15 minutes before the Opening for ease of security clearance and timely coverage of this event.

Hurricane response: Caribbean disaster agency comes of age

Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Mr.Ronald Jackson
Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Mr.Ronald Jackson

Caribbean governments want to be “taken seriously” in humanitarian management, and this year’s hurricane crises are an opportunity for the UN to “let go”, says a senior regional official. The Caribbean is dealing with “something we’ve never experienced before” but proudly coping, Ronald Jackson, head of the 18-member Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, told IRIN, adding that CDEMA effectively playing a leadership role is a “glimpse of the future”.

At times, sharing and assigning responsibilities has been tricky in the rolling crises caused by recent hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria: Several sources close to the Caribbean operations had told IRIN of a tense relationship between CDEMA and parts of the deployed UN teams.

But Jackson, speaking to IRIN from the CDEMA office in Barbados, brushed such talk aside. He said CDEMA would play its mandated role at the forefront of the response and looked forward to a “posture of support” from the UN humanitarian system, which didn’t mean the UN should “disappear”. Referring to UN assistance in the past, he added: “you’ve held our hand while we crawled”, but now “we’re walking”.

Read more at: IRINNEWS

Strong CARICOM support for hurricane ravaged Dominica

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CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (centre in light clothing) poses with regional hurricane relief workers
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Barbados coast guard vessel arrives in Dominica
The Governments and people of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States continue to actively support their sister country Dominica following Monday night’s devastating passage of Category 5 Hurricane Maria.

“We’ve lost all that money can buy”, Prime Minister Roosevelt had disclosed after surveying the widespread damage to houses and infrastructure.  A number of deaths have also been reported.

The government of close neighbour Antigua and Barbuda, while still itself in recovery mode from another Category Five Hurricane, Irma’s destructive passage over Barbuda, made an immediate pledge of US$300,000, to which Tourism Minister Asot Michael added a further US$100,000.  Antigua-Barbuda’s state and private broadcast media, in particular ABS Radio and TV have been providing a critical connection between Dominica’s residents and the rest of the world, especially  during the period when all broadcast and internet services were down. ABS TV  provided the first broadcast by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to the world after his initial aerial tour of the devastation.

  VIDEO: Prime Minister Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago

Barbados was also quick out the blocks, putting two coast guard vessels at Dominica’s disposal to help transport technical personnel and supplies. The vessels left Bridgetown loaded with water and other emergency supplies donated by Barbadians in heavily supported collection drives.  Barbados has also arranged to provide much needed doctors and nurses to assist with critical medical services.

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Emergency supplies arrive via coast guard vessel
With rural communities cut off by damaged or blocked roadways, Trinidad and Tobago’s helicopter service proved critical for transporting emergency personnel and assessment teams to the remote villages for damage assessment, to extract the injured and stranded, and to deliver  emergency supplies. Trinidad and Tobago had previously  provided its helicopter  to the Antigua and Barbuda government to assist with emergency services between Antigua and sister-island Barbuda which lost more than 90 percent of its houses to Hurricane Irma and which, as a result, had to be totally evacuated. The Trinidad and Tobago government also announced that it will waive the immigration requirements for residents of Dominica for a period of six months as the CARICOM Member State rebuilds.

The Dominica Government welcomed contingents of police officers from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Jamaica among others to assist with security during this recovery period. Grenada announced that a detachment from its Special Services Unit has joined an earlier team of communication and logistics officers supporting the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU).  Jamaica made available 120 members of its Defence Force Disaster Response Team to help with maintaining public order, engineering, relief distribution and damage assessment.  Saint Lucia’s police contingent was joined by fire and rescue officers as well as disaster assessment officials from the country’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).   (more…)