The Home Affairs Minister is reinforcing his call for Barbadians to insure their properties as the Atlantic hurricane season begins in just over six week’s time.
Addressing a regional workshop for disaster managers and child protection experts, Edmund Hinkson said that Barbadians should insure their homes as a matter of urgency as a hurricane can decimate the island in a few hours.
“A lot of Barbadians do not have proper insurance in terms of chattel houses it is still quite reasonable and it is not too late to seek insurance. Because when you have a natural disaster whether it is a hurricane, a huge storm, fire, and everything is gone and you have to start from scratch it is better to try and curb the risk then take the chance [and say] nothing will happen.”
Hinkson also blasted illegal dumping, which he blamed for impeding drainage in the flood-prone north of the island.
“We as adults, on the other hand, have to set the example and not do any type of illegal dumping. There’s a part of my constituency which they tried me on Saturday about the illegal dumping in Ashton Hall, The Whim.
“Dumping in these parts cause tremendous problems in the Speightstown [area] as we in Barbados know on many occasions up to three years ago. I can only implore Barbadians to cut out this practice.”
In speaking about the need to enforce child protection laws in the event of a natural disaster, the Home Affairs Minister said some laws do not cater to the technicalities of disasters.
Hinkson explained: “Most of the legislation pertaining to children does not specifically make mention of children and disasters. For example, The Protection of Children Act (1991) and the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act (1981) provide for the care and protection of children.
“However, they do not address the protection or needs of children during disasters. This is an area to be flagged for future action.”
Hinkson told the gathering that hurricanes can severely hamper their basic human rights.
He continued: “In our region of the world, there still exists a number of states whose economic and social stability are under serious threat. This, of itself, impedes a country’s resilience, but also its ability to recover or bounce back following a disaster.
“These factors can further impact on children’s ability to cope with disasters, as the level to which countries are susceptible to disasters, as the level to which countries are susceptible to disasters has a trickle-down effect and can affect the very basic needs of children.
“Thus, it is of paramount importance that effective mechanisms be put in place not only to ensure that the country can quickly recover and rebuild but also to ensure that children’s resilience to disasters is strengthened and sustained.”
The Minister of Home Affairs said Government has established a Vulnerable Persons Committee, led by the National Assistance Board, which is tasked with relocating at-risk individuals to a safe place in the event of a natural disaster.
The committee includes members from the Child Care Board and the Barbados Council for the Disabled. It is an arm of the Disaster Relief Committee – one of the fifteen standing committees of the Emergency Management Council (EMAC).