In a remarkable continuation of cross-island collaboration, a delegation from Providence Island recently embarked on a transformative journey to Trinidad and Tobago. Following the trailblazing exchange initiated by islanders from Providence and key figures like June Marie Mow and our CEO, Dr. Laura Canevari, the mission remained steadfast: to fortify relations and enhance climate disaster response. From June 10th to 16th, nine individuals united on a shared purpose: to deepen their understanding of disaster resilience, post-disaster reconstruction, mangrove restoration, and agricultural revitalization. This delegation, comprising diverse expertise, symbolizes the ongoing commitment to a resilient future forged through cooperation and shared learning.
The idea of integrating the islands into the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) also surfaced, offering the potential for improved regional collaboration in disaster response and resource-sharing.
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) became a central point of focus during the visit. Anwar Baksh, a key figure at ODPM, provided insights into the agency’s vital role in disaster coordination. The ODPM operates through four operational units, working to articulate disaster policy from national to local levels. The delegation identified potential areas of partnership, including Geographic Information System (GIS), research, innovation, technical exchange, and strategic collaborations.
The trip kicked off with visits to local farms, including the University of Trinidad farm, offering the delegation insights into practical farming techniques in the region. These visits facilitated direct interactions with local farmers, opening up opportunities for knowledge exchange and discussions about strengthening agricultural resilience in the face of potential disasters.
At the Ambassador’s Residency, the team engaged in a meaningful conversation that led to the proposal of a sister program, connecting San Andres with Trinidad and Providence with Tobago.
A visit to the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) shed light on the pillars of preparedness, namely: Protocols, Systems, Equipment, and People. The importance of community involvement, voluntarism, and decentralized assets became evident. The delegation toured TEMA’s warehouse, gaining firsthand understanding on the importance of resource prepositioning and how to forge successful partnerships with donors.
The Division of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment, and Sustainable Development emphasized the interconnectedness of these elements in building a resilient community. The focus was on fire prevention, training, and enforcement within the broader scope of disaster management.
A journey into mangrove restoration areas and a visit to the Environmental Research Institute of Charlotteville (ERIC) concluded the trip. ERIC’s efforts in research, monitoring, capacity building, conservation, and outreach left a profound impact, resonating with the delegation’s interest in ecosystem restoration.
Amidst the knowledge-gathering, the delegation also immersed themselves in Trinidad and Tobago’s culture. Engaging in cultural activities, savoring local flavors, and experiencing the rhythm of steel pan drums enriched their journey.
As the delegation returned to Providence Island, they carried with them a wealth of insights and possibilities. The trip’s lessons on resilience, post-disaster reconstruction, ecosystem restoration, and agricultural revival offered tangible pathways for their community’s growth. The connections forged during this exchange promised a future of collaboration, learning, and shared progress.
This exchange could not have been possible without the support of Open Society Foundations in partnership with Fundación Providence and Gitec.
ITACA Solutions is a technical services provider focused on implementing climate adaptation in coastal areas in the Caribbean. Sign up to our mailing list to receive our newsletter with updates about our work, publications, activities and events.