Guyana commended for clearing arrears to CDEMA

– Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency hosts successful Council Meeting

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, July 7, 2018

Guyana was commended for efforts made in significantly reducing their contribution arrears to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). At the recently hosted Eighth Meeting of the Council of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency in Montego Bay, the country was applauded for clearing its outstanding debts incurred since 2013.

The council meeting held on July 4, was attended by Minister of Public Affairs, Ministry of the Presidency, Dawn Hastings-Williams and Director General (ag), Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lt. Col. Kester Craig.

It was noted that Guyana paid 70 percent of its outstanding contribution arrears in 2017 and has processed the payment of another 25 percent of the current outstanding arrears in June 2018.

Several key matters were discussed including financing of the agency, CDEMA’s Corporate Plan and Results, operational matters and readiness.

A Green Paper on building a Resilient Caribbean was submitted to the Heads of Government at the 39th Regular Meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) hosted in Jamaica.
According to a report on the outcomes of the meeting, the most important matter on the agenda was the financing of CDEMA, which has been facing challenges as a result of limited funds.

The Executive Director reported that the financial position of the CDEMA is a reflection of economic challenges in Participating States. To this end, the CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CU) has employed prudent cash management and cost control strategies.

These measures include constant monitoring of expenditures and cost-sharing arrangements, where possible, with projects.

“Notwithstanding this, the CDEMA CU, by virtue of it being headquartered in Barbados, has also had to manage through the tough economic climate inclusive of rising prices (4% in 2017 compared to 1.5% in 2016), as a direct result of increases in indirect taxes and escalating global energy prices, which has contributed to a surge in inflation,” the report stated.

The council approved a budget proposal equivalent to less than 50 percent increase in the annual contribution of Participating States.

Importantly, the Eighth Meeting of the Council was dubbed successful since the CDEMA’s Financial Budget was increased and approved after over seven years without an increase or approval.

Guyana, through the CDC, was encouraged to work closely with the CDEMA Coordinating Unit to benefit from technical assistance to enhance the national, regional and community risk management system.

The next Council meeting is slated for June 28, 2019, in Turks and Caicos.

By: Stacy Carmichael.

Editor’s Note: The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is an inter-regional supportive network of independent emergency units throughout the Caribbean region. Formed on September 1, 2005 as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) it underwent a name change to CDEMA in September 2009.