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CEMO holds annual symposium

The City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO) is holding a two-day symposium looking at ways to build on hurricane preparedness and response in an effort to lessen the impact of natural disasters. In addressing those assembled at this morning’s opening ceremony, Mayor Darrel Bradley said that emergency preparedness is integral to all aspects of life.

Darrel Bradley – Mayor of Belize City

“The idea of emergency preparedness and readiness should be integrated into everything that we do. Recently we had discussions on the amendments to the Building Act to provide for improvements in the coordination between the Central Building Authority and municipalities. Emergency management is a part of that discussion. The second thing that I want to recognize is really the importance as was said by the other presenters of this collaboration. Emergencies affect communities and our emergency response must always be a community response. It is always a reflection on the strength of the power and resilience of a community as to how well we bounce back so that it’s very very important that we keep NEMO and CEMO as community-based entities. I am very pleased that the structure of NEMO and the structure of CEMO at its very core is a community-based entity so that when you look at the CEMO meetings, the monthly meetings, you will have representatives for the Police form the BDF from the Red Cross, you will have other NGO associations, other governmental associations, you will have representatives from NEMO.  You will have our friends from the private sector, you will have representatives from the church and religious faith-based communities. You will have representatives from the members of the media because we must ensure that we work together so that our community strengths are at its highest in the event of an emergency.”

Stakeholders from NEMO, CEMO and a number of non-governmental organizations were present at the symposium. Bradley spoke to the media on the relevance of such a symposium.


Darrel Bradley – Mayor of Belize City

“The idea of having a two-day training and workshop that looks at our hurricane emergency plan that refines the plan, that brings together stakeholders and that provides a space where people can share their expertise and come up with recommendations that’s very beneficial. I can recall that our emergency preparedness plan for a hurricane is much different than six years when I first came here. We have including more representatives, including this morning, I signaled out the president of the Belize Association with Persons with Diverse Abilities because it was felt earlier on that it wasn’t adequately addressed persons with special needs we’ve taken that into consideration. We’ve looked at widening the dialogue so we don’t only look at Hurricanes, we’ve looked in the past for Tsunamis, we’ve looked at fires, we have looked at serious traffic accidents so that the SEMO symposium over the last six years have raised awareness on different types of emergencies because we want to raise attention to these things and our fundamental point is the importance of planning, the importance of having proper strategies, collaboration and partnerships and the importance also of individual awareness.”

Bradley said that working collectively on strategies is the best approach in order to be most effective against natural disasters.