FROM RIGHT: His Excellency Teruhiko Shinada, Ambassador of Japan to Barbados presenting Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite and Divisional Officer at the Barbados Fire Service (BFS), Errol Gaskin, with the keys to a new specialised van for the BFS from the Government of Japan yesterday.

Japan strengthens Barbados’ emergency efforts

Equipment and vehicles valued at Bds$1.8 million donated by the Government of Japan will help Barbados enhance its disaster management and relief efforts.

Yesterday, His Excellency Teruhiko Shinada, Ambassador of Japan to Barbados, presented Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite with two rescue vehicles, one fire service vehicle, one ambulance as well as tents, tarpaulin sheets, waterproof footwear known as waders, megaphones, lighting apparatus and generators. Storage bins for these tools were also provided for each of the island’s 11 parishes.

During the handing over ceremony held at the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Ambassador Shinada said that this aid is intended to reinforce disaster preparedness in Barbados and to strengthen the resilience of Barbadian society in the face of natural disasters.

“My country Japan, having suffered for centuries from the onslaught of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, tsunamis and other coastal hazards, has developed significant know-how and technology to overcome the challenges which natural disasters are sure to bring. This time we are eager to share our long-standing experience and knowledge with our friends, the people of Barbados.

“Of course, while it would be better for none of these items to be used, as an old Japanese proverb states, ‘When you are better prepared, you have less worries.’ It is our hope that this grant-aid will raise public awareness in Barbados, improve its preparedness, response and recovery capacities, and thus secure a future of greater resilience for the island,” he stated.

Expressing his gratitude to the Government of Japan, Brathwaite noted that the relationship between the two countries has accelerated in recent years.

He emphasised that the $1.8 million donation is significant and will be put to good use across the various ministries, including the parishes.

“I want, on behalf of the government and people of Barbados, to thank the Government of Japan for their continued engagement.

“These pieces of equipment and vehicles are received by us with the utmost gratitude...I would charge my colleagues that we have a responsibility to ensure that the life of the equipment is as long as possible; we will put them to good use, but we will also ensure that we take the requisite care of them,” he said. (TL)

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