NEMO’s National Economic Recovery Committee has reconvened, and according to the Government, this is after a few years of absence. The committee’s job is to assist in the recovery of the country shortly after a natural disaster. Additionally, it coordinates the rehabilitation and reconstruction of government, economic and household functions. The committee, chaired by CEO Doctor Osmond Martinez, discussed the efforts to improve broader economic development and to reduce the risks stemming from the impacts of disasters. Doctor Martinez outlined some the committee’s specific goals.
Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “The national, the Economic Recovery Committee is very important to Belize because we need to have a plan in case of any natural disaster. So, when you look, for example, this committee was dormant for many years, according to NEMO, and so we have activated it back. One is because at the time of any natural disaster, we need to make sure that there is a proper plan to connect back utilities, basic utilities such as water, electricity, telecommunications. But, it is also important to note where the funds will come from in order to have a faster recovery in case there is any impact of a natural disaster in any part of our nation and simple things, you know. Where will the food come from? Food security, will the Ministry of Agriculture have enough food and not only for the nationals, for the locals, but also for the tourists that will be in Belize? We also disclosed the importance for the municipalities to have a proper plan. Not a plan only in our head but a plan that will be in a book. You know? Well spelled on how things should work out.”
In addition to the economic components, the committee intends to arrive at its post-disaster decisions using data, science and technology.
Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “The Ministry of Agriculture under Mr. Canto, who was representing there, he is actually a G.I.S. expert and he was saying the importance of introducing G.I.S. into a natural disaster plan in order to be more effective on how we can help and assist our community. So, Science and Technology will definitely be an important factor, especially into the economic recovery aspect.”
Entities involved in the first meeting included the Ministries of Tourism, Infrastructure Development, Natural Resources and Agriculture, the utility companies and other statutory bodies.