PHILIPSBURG – During the Weekly Council of Ministers Press Briefing, Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin elucidated on some of the hurricane preparedness activities that are presently ongoing by the Government of Sint Maarten. Prime Minister Romeo Marlin said, “We are just a few days away from the start of the Hurricane Season 2019 and I take this opportunity to remind you that it only takes one, so we must do all that we can to be prepared as we face another Hurricane Season.”
Prime Minister Romeo Marlin is the Minister of General Affairs and has the responsibility of managing any disaster when the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) has been activated. Just this week, the members of the EOC met to discuss the current law as it relates to Disaster Management and the roles of each person or entity as outlined in the structure of the EOC.
“I want to publicly, thank His Excellency, Governor Eugene Holiday, all stakeholders, presenters and specifically the members of the 10 ESF Groups that make up the EOC for their positive participation in the workshop on the Disaster Law and I look forward to the follow-up sessions as we continue our Hurricane preparations. I would like to reassure the people of Sint Maarten that the Disaster Management Organization is working diligently to ensure that if a disaster should threaten or strike tomorrow mechanisms are in place to respond and keep you the citizens and guests safe and secure,” said Prime Minister Romeo Marlin.
For persons interested in researching the law, please search under the name “Landsverordening Rampenbestrijding Sint Maarten”.
Currently, there are a number of ongoing activities related to Hurricane Preparedness.
1. Discussions are ongoing with Aruba and Curacao to define the processes that will ensure the delivery of support. Whether it maybe military, governmental, medical or civilian support, the Government of Sint Maarten will be able to count on external support from the Dutch Kingdom Partners.
2. On May 27 – 28th, UNICEF in collaboration with the court of guardianship is hosting its second Child Protection in Emergencies workshop. It is important for parents to be prepared before a disaster just in case the decision is made to evacuate or relocate your child to another country. Proper procedures must be followed to ensure the safety and security of our children.
3. Locally, on June 22nd the second Hurricane EXPO is being organized to raise the awareness of the public to be properly prepared in the event of a disaster specifically a Hurricane. This year the plans include a series of 3 to 4 info sessions that will target the district communities giving persons the opportunity to ask questions to ESF groups NGO’s and key stakeholders on information provided during the session.
4. The annual HUREX or Hurricane Exercise Drill will take place this year at the end of June where all the members of the EOC will test their readiness and capacities as response organizations.
5. Following the HUREX, the EOC will once again get together on July 5th in an internal setting as we did last year at the Disaster Preparedness Conference. The theme of this year’s Disaster Conference will be “Communication is Critical” with emphasis on internal and external communication.
During the Disaster Preparedness Conference, the launching of a Disaster Emergency App will take place. On this app, persons will be able to receive pertinent information, warnings and alerts as it relates to Disasters on Sint Maarten.
Prime Minister Romeo Marlin concluded her statements, “I want to ask the public to also do their part and seek out the relevant information for their immediate family and community. This information should cover personal emergency family planning that takes into account the wellbeing of your children, household emergency supplies, all insurances, safeguarding important documents and access to communication sources.”
Persons are also reminded to be vigilant and act responsibly by avoiding the spread of information that does not originate from official government sources. More information will be forthcoming as we get into Hurricane Season 2019.