Author: MNI Media | Date: 25 March 2019
The Royal Montserrat Defence Force (RMDF) recently had two Members represent the island on a United Kingdom funded Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) training course, titled Project Caribbean Cohesion.
The course was held from February 25th - March 8th, 2019 at the Headquarters of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF).
This workshop was the second in a series of three to be held within the region to bolster the region’s ability to respond to disaster situations. The countries represented at this training course were Antigua and Barbuda, host country Barbados, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.Also represented at the training were the Caribbean institutions of the Regional Security System (RSS) and CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS) as well as representation from the Office of the British High Commission. Major Alvin Ryan and Lieutenant Glenroy Foster represented Montserrat.
According to a release from the RMDF; "This UK-funded training course aimed to provide a unique opportunity for disaster practitioners and first responders within the region to strengthen their understanding of CDEMA’s Regional Response Mechanism and to explore ways to contribute towards regional efforts at building resilience among the various Caribbean Islands."The main presenters for the training course were Mr. Richard Gordon, Director of Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC) and Mr. Jamie Martin, Assistant Lecturer BUDMC.
Both presenters posses a wide knowledge base in disaster management from various perspectives and experiences from around the world. Mr. Gordon provides training to government officials, national security forces, media, emergency services and Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) on the full spectrum of disaster management from mitigation and planning to response. Mr. Martin also brings a wealth of high level military experiences after spending thirty-three years in the British Army rising to the rank of Colonel. This experience includes strategic level policy development as well as campaign planning both in and out of country. As well as experience working with foreign governments as a Military adviser.
In addition there were presentations from CEDEMA, RSS, Department of Emergency Management (DEM) Barbados, Ministry of Health and Wellness Barbados and the Barbados Defence Force.
The training course ran the spectrum of disaster management. The topics covered included Strategic Objectives of Disaster Management & Governance, Hazards in the Caribbean – A Sub-Regional Perspective, Introduction to Risk Reduction, Risk Analysis Process – A Sub-Regional Perspective, Early Warning Systems, Enduring Principles of Managing Major Incidents, Incident Command System, Gold Silver and Bronze System, Mass Casualty Handling, Casualty Tracking, Victim Identification, Strategic Communication, Wider Stakeholders: Travel & Tourism, Issues of Media Management, Issues of External Assistance, The Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) for the Caribbean, The Regional Security System (RSS) for the Caribbean, Military Assistance to Humanitarian Operations, Preparing a Rapid Needs Assessment Team Deployment, Hearts & Minds in Humanitarian Operations and Introduction to Maritime & Cruise Ship Accidents.
In addition to the various lectures, there were numerous interactive group exercises which helped to reinforce the work which was covered in the lectures. These included planning evacuation operations for an impending storm, Deployment and surrounding logistics for a Rapid Needs Assessment, deployment for Humanitarian operations on another country and the excavation of passengers to shore from a stricken cruise vessel.
Montserrat’s participation was made possible through the support of the British Defence Attaché’s office based in Kingston, Jamaica.