September 12, 2014
We don’t rely on one person – PM

No one person has to be relied upon for emergency systems to be mobilized in times of disaster.{{more}}

During a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves revealed that some persons had questioned why director of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), Howie Prince and his deputy, Michelle Forbes, were out of the country at the same time, particularly during the flash floods that occurred last weekend.

“All the systems were mobilized. We don’t have to rely on one person to mobilize the systems,” the Prime Minister declared.

However, in his explanation, Gonsalves took full responsibility for both persons being out of the country at the same time.

“Howie Prince was in Barbados awaiting coming to St Vincent because he had gone down to Grenada to take part in the 10th anniversary of hurricane Ivan. I, in fact, take responsibility for sending him down to Grenada for one day. He got caught in the storm,” he said.

“I approved for Michelle to go to Taiwan to strengthen her own capacity, which will redound to the advantage of NEMO and disaster preparedness, because there are always new things to be learned.”

Gonsalves stressed that when the flash floods occurred on September 6, he was in touch with all requisite persons and all necessary systems were mobilized.

Among these persons were chief engineer Brent Bailey; Senator Julian Francis; permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security Godfrey Pompey; deputy prime minister Girlyn Miguel and third in command at NEMO, Houlda Peters.

“I got in touch with the next person in line,Houlda Peters. Houlda was taking a bus from Park Hill to come into town to man NEMO.

At 1:30 when I was on the road, I called into the radio station and gave a 10 to 15 minute account to NBC (National Broadcasting Corporation) of what was happening and to assure everybody,” he said. (BK)