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Over 70 persons from the private sector attended a disaster recovery workshop designed to bring about awareness of the need for businesses to focus on business continuity and recovery planning.
The workshop was organised under the theme “Ensuring a Resilient Economy through Partnership in Disaster Recovery” and was financed by the Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA) and Tropical Shipping. It was held at Maria By The Sea’s conference room.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE said that it was heartening to know that the workshop was organised through a public-private partnership between the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and Tropical Shipping.
Honourable Smith said, “I am pleased to learn that this workshop brings together representatives of local businesses through the support of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA), Road Town Wholesale and the various Rotary Clubs in the Territory.”
The Premier expressed his sincere gratitude to the CCAA and Tropical Shipping for bringing this type of training to the region and now the BVI.
Premier Smith said, “One of the mantras of my Government is to ensure that all businesses have greater access to training, and I am pleased this business recovery workshop is one such opportunity that has been extended towards that goal. The more prepared our people are, the better they are with facing the unknown. In essence, today is about strengthening and developing business capacity.”
Chief Executive Officer and President of Tropical Shipping, Mr. Rick Murrell, spoke about the importance of strong leadership during times of disasters. He encouraged the business representatives to consider three important factors when developing their business continuity and recovery plans.
“Employees must be treated like family,” he said, adding, “You must find a way to take care of your employees and their families so that human resources are available during disasters. This is important to ensure resumption of critical business services.” He further stated, “I want you to take away three things today from this workshop. Always ensure that you have at least 10 days of essential food items in your home; believe that co-workers are your family and therefore plan for them and work closely with the DDM to ensure the leadership that is needed in times of disasters is in place.”
Several speakers delivered presentations, including retired professor of physics and researcher from the University of the Virgin Islands, Mr. Roy Watlington, Ms. Angela Burnett Penn from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, and Ms. Bernadette Walters Louis of H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) .
Business partners including Executive Director of the CCAA, Ms. Sally Yearwood, Mr. Louis Potter of the BVICCHA, BVI Assistant Governor for Rotary International District 7020 Mrs. Delma Maduro, and Director of DDM, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo, pledged their commitment through a Statement of Purpose that will allow these entities to promote public-private sector partnership in humanitarian assistance.
The meeting was chaired by Tortola Island Manager for Island Shipping Ltd, Mr. Leroy Moses, agents for Tropical Shipping and was supported by the Tropical team comprised of Assistant Vice president Mr. Gordon Cole; Director of Governmental and Community Affairs at Tropical Shipping, Jennifer Nugent-Hill.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA) promotes private sector-led economic development in the Caribbean Basin since 1980 and has been facilitating trade and investment by fostering constructive dialogue between the private and public sectors to improve the policy and regulatory environments for businesses at the local, regional and international levels. Its programmes focus on the areas of energy security, trade facilitation, transportation, financial services, hazard mitigation, security and information technology.
2. Tropical Shipping has been offering Disaster Management Services during their 50 years of existence to support a coordinated, quick and efficient importation of supplies following any disaster. They have developed a solid disaster preparedness and recovery programme that facilities disaster recovery workshops to bring together private and public sector groups prior to a disaster to coordinate recovery plans and help ensure business and government continuity after a disaster.