NASSAU, The Bahamas – Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks & Caicos Islands Government, the Hon. Arlington A. Musgrove, Monday (December 6) paid a Courtesy Call on Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Hon. Myles LaRoda, at Minister LaRoda’s Offices located Dockendale House, West Bay Street.
Mr. Musgrove, who also has remit for Customs, Disaster Management, the Airport and Seaport Authorities, and Civil Aviation Authority, was accompanied by Dr. Holly Hamilton, the Director of Meteorology, Turks & Caicos Island Airport Authority (TCIAA); Mr. Mark Wilkinson, Radio Communications and Telecommunications Specialist, the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME) within the TCI Government, and Ms. Karen Higgs, Personal Assistant to Minister Musgrove.
State-Minister LaRoda, who has remit for Disaster Management, the National Insurance Board, the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas and Bahamas Information Services among his portfolio responsibilities, was accompanied by Mr. Carl F. Smith, Permanent Secretary. Also in attendance was Mr. Jeffrey Simmons, of The Bahamas’ Department of Meteorology.
Monday’s Courtesy Call and subsequent meeting allowed the two Ministers to continue the longstanding relationship, dialogue, cooperation and tradition of collaboration “on every level” between the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands that has existed since the 1800s.
The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands also help to comprise the 19 Participating States of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), which is the regional inter-governmental agency for disaster management that falls directly under the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Its role is to be the facilitator, driver, coordinator and motivating force to the promotion and engineering of Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) in all Participating States.
Established in 1991 as CDERA (the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency) with primary responsibility for the coordination of emergency response and relief efforts to Participating States in need of such assistance, the Agency transitioned to CDEMA in 2009 to fully embrace the principles and practice of Comprehensive Disaster Management – an integrated and proactive approach to disaster management and seeks to reduce the risks and losses associated with natural and technological hazards and the effects of Climate Change, to enhance regional sustainable development.
CDEMA’s functions are as follows: mobilising and coordinating disaster relief; mitigating or eliminating, as far as practicable, the immediate consequences of disasters in Participating States; providing immediate and coordinated response by means of emergency disaster relief to any affected Participating State; securing, coordinating and providing to interested inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations reliable and comprehensive information on disasters affecting any Participating State; encouraging:
(i) the adoption of disaster loss reduction and mitigation policies and practices at the national and regional level; (ii) cooperative arrangements and mechanisms to facilitate the development of a culture of disaster loss reduction; and coordinating the establishment, enhancement and maintenance of adequate emergency disaster response capabilities among the Participating States.
The Bahamas also has a relationship with the Turks & Caicos Island’s Department of Meteorology – through The Bahamas Department of Meteorology -- to provide TCI’s aviation Met services. The agreement has been in place for about 10 years. The Bahamas Department of Meteorology is also responsible -- through the World Met Organization – for providing hurricane forecasts, issuing Alerts and Warnings for the Turks & Caicos Islands whenever TCI is under threat from Hurricanes.
The two delegations discussed a number of matters of mutual concern to both Small-Island Developing States. Minister LaRoda applauded the continued collaborations.
“At every level, the relationship between The Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands has been a very close, one that goes back for generations,” Mr. LaRoda said.
Minister Musgrove also applauded the collaborations, saying: “You guys have a lot of knowledge and expertise down here and you are our brothers so we can tap into that.”