CDEMA Hosts Ceremony to Inaugurate New U.S. Government-Funded Regional Facility

In a recent ceremony, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) inaugurated its new headquarters at Resilience Way in St. Michael.  The construction of the CDEMA training facility, regional coordination center, and warehouse for emergency supplies has been financially supported by the government of the United States of America through the United States Southern Command (US/SOUTHCOM).

CDEMA’s new US$4.1 million-dollar facility was funded through the US/SOUTHCOM’s Humanitarian Assistance Program, as US/SOUTHCOM has been a long-standing partner of CDEMA and the region in providing support for training and emergency operations.  The facility serves as the CDEMA Coordinating Unit’s day to day office building, a fully-functioning regional training facility, and also as CARICOM’s Caribbean-wide emergency operation center for regional disaster relief operations.

In a ceremony attended widely by stakeholders from the private and public sectors, key officials delivered remarks and took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that officially declared the new facility “open for business.”  Distinguished guests in attendance included the Honorable Dr. Larry Palmer, United States Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS; the Honorable Adriel Brathwaite, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs of Barbados; Mr. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA; and Rear Admiral Scott Jerabek, Director of Theater Engagement (J7) of U.S. Southern Command.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony for CDEMA’s new facility, U.S. Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS, Dr. Larry Palmer underscored his full support of the new facility, while referencing the importance of regional cooperation and partnership.  “The regional coordination center symbolizes all of our collective commitments to disaster preparedness, response, and mitigation,” noted Ambassador Palmer.  Executive Director of CDEMA Ronald Jackson echoed those sentiments and during his remarks stated, “Let this facility stand as a reaffirmation of our collective commitment to the goal of building of a safer, more resilient and sustainable region for the benefit of all of our people.”

The regional coordination center is the result of a two-year collaboration and coordination effort on the part of the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, US/SOUTHCOM, the Government of Barbados, and CDEMA’s Coordinating Unit.  The regional coordination center is a part of the US/SOUTHCOM and CDEMA’s Five Year Development Program, which also included construction of multiple emergency warehouses and operation centers throughout the Caribbean, national level disaster management staff training, and annual Caribbean Disaster Response Unit training.  US/SOUTHCOM is responsible for providing contingency planning and operations in Central and South America, the Caribbean, their territorial waters, and for the force of U.S. military resources at these locations.