Geared at finalising a comprehensive document to target disaster risk management and response in Guyana, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) yesterday opened another round of consultations for the Disaster Risk Management [DRM] Bill at the Pegasus Hotel.
Speaking at the consultation, which targeted national and sectoral stakeholders, Director General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, said that the consultation will garner input on the bill in a bid to ensure that there is a robust and comprehensive document that can deal with effective disaster risk management across the country.
“This activity is one of the many that we have to ensure we can get feedback. Today [yesterday], we are at a critical juncture in the development and enhancement of our Disaster Risk Management Mechanism. It is about 15 years since Guyana experienced its worse disaster that affected about 66 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product. Since then, several measures were taken by all stakeholders to further enhance and develop our risk management mechanism. We have developed several plans, policies, framework, and guidance which create the basis for the development of our disaster risk management bill. This bill is a very comprehensive one,” he said.
The CDC is currently receiving technical support in this stride under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) and Services for the Implementation of External Aid 2018 (SIEA) Framework, “Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Resilience” Programme through the European Union.
Mr Federico Suarez, Programme Officer/Attaché of the Delegation of the European Union to Guyana and Suriname and with responsibility for Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba and St. Maarten, in his remarks, said that the process is a transparent and comprehensive approach to drafting the bill.
“We have been working on this for the last year and a half so we are happy to have this workshop here today. We appreciate that the stakeholders are here to contribute to this process. The European Union is not only focusing on sea and river defence and coastal management; we are also looking at the legislative agenda. I know this will bring benefit to the people of Guyana,” he said.
Meanwhile, Legislative Drafting Expert, Mr Chris Hedley, addressing stakeholders at the meeting, said that consultations are a key component in developing the legislation because it provides a different perspective, which would aid in providing a more integrated perspective in the development of the bill.
Last week, the CDC hosted its first public consultation with members of civil and Guyanese society. The CDC is working to have the bill submitted to the Attorney General’s Chambers by the end of June for formatting before it is taken to Cabinet.