BGIS – The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is “bleeding”, and facing difficulties in paying its day-to-day bills, according to Barbados attorney general and minister of home affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, who has again called on member states to lend their support to the agency.
He was speaking at the official opening of the new CDEMA headquarters, regional training centre, regional coordination centre and warehouse in Barbados.
“I want to encourage my colleagues in the region to ensure that we are able to financially support CDEMA and its activities,” he said.
Brathwaite stated that international partners were saying that it was difficult for them to justify putting money into the region, when the region itself did not seem willing or able to give financial support to various agencies that was required. He warned that the region could not signal that it was independent without looking within itself to ensure that it could do more within its people.
The minister called on regional partners who had not yet paid their annual subscriptions for 2015 to CDEMA to do so, because there was still work to be done to furnish and outfit the building which was constructed at a cost of US $4 million from the United States Southern Command.
Meanwhile, American Ambassador Larry Palmer noted that Thursday’s handover was the result of many years of hard work and close coordination between numerous groups and agencies including the government of Barbados, which provided the land, and the United States Southern Command the funding.
He added that the regional coordination centre symbolised the countries’ collective commitment to disaster preparedness, response and mitigation.
“The purpose of this facility is to help save lives, and that is a cause I believe we can all be proud to help support,” he stated.