‘Making Guyana less vulnerable to climate change, disasters’
- PM says on Disaster Risk Management Bill
By Vishani Ragobeer
The Disaster Risk Management Bill, which should be presented to the National Assembly shortly, is expected to help strengthen Guyana’s mitigation efforts when grappling with natural disasters, exacerbated by climate change, according to Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister toured the National Gymnasium on Mandela Avenue, Georgetown, where the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has been mobilising relief supplies for flood-affected regions and communities.
Following that tour, he commended the CDC for coordinating and mobilising food and cleaning supplies for flood-affected residents in communities across Guyana, and for setting up shelters in Regions Nine and Ten for those residents who have been evacuated.
Importantly, however, the Prime Minister said that beyond the current crisis, efforts need to be made to ensure that the country can “build better” and withstand the next disaster with a greater level of resilience.
A crucial component in mitigating future disaster would be the Disaster Risk Management Bill that has been in the works since 2012. Recently, Director-General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig told the News Room that the bill was finalised but was awaiting input from the Prime Minister who oversees disaster risk management in Guyana.
Responding to questions from the News Room, on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that he has read the bill and is confident that it would be placed before the National Assembly shortly.
While noting that he does not have any criticisms of the bill, the Prime Minister said that other Ministers of Government will review the bill also and share their comments. Once taken to the National Assembly, he said that other Members of Parliament would be able to add their comments, too.
“I think the whole intention of the bills and all the plans are to make us manage situations of disasters or complex emergencies better the next time around,” he said.
Later, the Prime Minister added: “The whole effort is that at the end of it, we will continue to see improvements in the way in which we manage disaster in Guyana and also to better focus our disaster mitigatory (sic) projects so at the end of it all we will be less vulnerable to the effects of climate change or any other disaster in Guyana.”
Previously, the CDC’s Director-General explained that this bill would give the CDC and other response agencies the “necessary clout” to effectively respond to their mandate as it relates to disaster risk management.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also said that there is no timeline in place for the review of the bill before it is taken to the National Assembly, however, he assured members of the media that the government is “working as fast as possible.”