Author: Ministry of National Security, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management

MoU signed between Ministry of National Security of Trinidad and Tobago and the University of the West Indies,St. Augustine Campus

Source(s): Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management, the

On Wednesday January 18, 2023, Minister of National Security the Honourable Fitzgerald Hinds M.P. presided over the signing of a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of National Security and The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus.

The Signing Ceremony took place at the Ministry of National Security, Temple Court I, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain.

Minister Hinds, in his remarks, stated that the Ministry of National Security continues to promote stakeholder collaboration to inform intelligence-based decision making and strengthen inter-agency structures and systems. He expressed his gratitude to Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal for the St. Augustine Campus of The University of the West Indies, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine and the team at The UWI St. Augustine Campus for collaborating with the Ministry of National Security towards co-creating solutions to manage the effects of climate change and to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from severe hazards and disasters.

The Minister noted that initial discussions were led by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) and The UWI St. Augustine Campus, however the collaboration will extend to the Defence and Protective Services, Immigration Division, Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre, Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Force, and General Administration with regard to training and development to bolster capacity for enhanced service delivery to the public.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal for the St. Augustine Campus of The University of the West Indies, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine also welcomed the signing of the MOU which she indicated commits The UWI St. Augustine Campus to provide specialised research, training, and education to support the objectives of various Divisions of the Ministry of National Security in fields inclusive of but not limited to disaster risk resilience, crime and forensic science.

Delivering Welcome Remarks, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ODPM, Major General (Ret’d) Rodney Smart said that the MOU was wide ranging in nature and will strengthen the existing partnership between the Ministry of National Security and The UWI St. Augustine Campus. CEO Smart noted that the signing of the MOU was the culmination of a process that commenced in the latter part of 2019.

He iterated that the ODPM – consistent with an All-of-Society approach to build national disaster resilience, by mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management into the various sectors of society – approached The UWI St. Augustine Campus, as the institution plays a vital role in societal development through the sharing of ideas, information, and knowledge. He underscored that the arrangements under the MOU will be of strategic relevance to the Ministry of National Security and its Divisions, Agencies and Units.

Also delivering remarks, Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture at The UWI St. Augustine Campus, Dr. Mark Wuddivira, said the MOU will enable technical cooperation between the two parties to develop policies, programmes, and new best practices. He affirmed that the Faculty of Food and Agriculture is poised to assist through its wealth of knowledge and skills, which is far beyond the perceived scope of a conventional Faculty of Food and Agriculture in areas such as Disaster Risk Management and Climate Resilience strategies.

Also in attendance were Permanent Secretaries (Ag.) of the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Gary Joseph and Ms. Nataki Atiba-Dilchan, and other Ministry officials; as well as representatives from the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force; Trinidad and Tobago Police Service; Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service; Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service; Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Force; Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management; Immigration Division; Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre; Probation Services; and The UWI St. Augustine Campus.

The scope of initiatives under the MOU is in alignment to Government’s Vision 2030 National Development Strategy; the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (SFDRR). Areas for collaboration include training programmes; joint publications; exchange of information; joint sponsorship and conduct of conferences, workshops and seminars; co-operative use of materials and facilities for research and projects in alignment with the needs of industries and societies; co-ordinated research and teaching activities with other institutions; joint fellowship and internship programmes and student scholarships; and the establishment of Centres of Learning/Excellence.

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