Construction of an $8 million disaster emergency facility that will serve Barbados and the rest of the region, got off the ground this morning at Lears in St George.
The headquarters of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, which broke ground during an official ceremony, is scheduled to be completed within ten months, according to project manager and director of Sigma Construction, Jeff Magar.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY following the formalities, Magar said the facility will cover 11,000 square feet of land, 6,000 square feet of which comprise office space and 5,000 storage.
“It will be a single block work structure . . . a flat concrete roof; so in bad weather conditions it’s a very secure building. Fully air conditioned and service, highly data, access points. We’ve got a library facility, there is general open office areas, there’s a lot of enclosed office areas for the various disciplines within the organisation, an operations room, et cetera, et cetera,” stated the project manager.
Earlier when he addressed the gathering that included Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite, executive director of CDEMA, Ronald Jackson, said the new project will comprise a training facility for disaster management for the Caribbean region.
“This morning, we are not just breaking ground for the new CDEMA facilities, but the partnerships between the government of Barbados, the government of the United States, through the US Southern Command and CDEMA, will be putting down a major part of the foundation in ensuring that the CDEMA Coordinating Unit and the CDEMA system, charged with leading the mandate for a comprehensive disaster, is placed on a sustainable path,” Jackson submitted.
He noted that last December, his organisation launched the new integrated risk management strategy, which I will call CDEMA strategy 3, as the strategic road map for the next ten years, through which we will seek to achieve national and regional results.
“This multi-purpose facility that we will be receiving, will contribute to some of the key results identified within that strategy . . . response, planning, preparedness,” added the CDEMA director.
Jackson observed that the US Southern Command has supported a number of key interventions in the region, including the construction of warehouses and emergency operations centres in several of our participating states.
“Training of our CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit, which we are on the verge of actually rolling out another activity, during the course of this month; the possibility for light level search and rescue and the delivery of exercises, such as Tradewinds, the FAU hastest CDEMA’s systems and her possibilties,” he added.
He assured the local Department of Emergency Management’s director Judy Thomas that his agency will share its resources with the Barbados entity. The Barbados government, Jackson told the ceremony, had leased the land to CDEMA for 25 years, in order to facilitate the project.