By Nicole Georges
A “committed group” from the Grenadian diaspora has launched a new organization, the Grenada Disaster Preparedness Toronto Committee (GDPT), just ahead of the anticipated 2019 Hurricane Season.
The launch was held at the Tropicana Community Centre in Scarborough on Friday.
GDPT Chairman, Unison Joseph, said the GDPT was formed initially from a few members who answered the call in 2017 to assist hurricane ravaged islands following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria which resulted in death and widespread destruction.
Joseph pointed out that the organization ” recognized the need for mobilization,
“The aim of our organization is to mobilize immediate assistance and training to alleviate the impact of a disaster on Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. We have adopted the slogan, ‘For the love of nation’. However, our group has also embraced the mantra of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA).”
The GDPT is affiliated with the National Disaster Management Agency of Grenada (NaDMA); Caribbean North CDERA; and Global Medic, the Canadian registered charity that for two decades has been sending volunteers to the Caribbean, and other parts of the world, to provide aid in the aftermath of disasters.
According to the mission statement of the GDPT, the committee aims to mobilize immediate assistance and training, to alleviate the impact of a disaster on Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
Consul General for Grenada, Derrick James, in his remarks at the launch, commended the Committee for leading the efforts to prepare for the 2019 Hurricane Season which officially started on June 1.
James encouraged Grenadians to “do their patriotic duty” to support the initiative.
“Remember with climate change and the vulnerability of our islands, it is not if but when, we will suffer another disaster.”
He announced that a new umbrella organization, Canadian Caribbean Disaster Relief Action (CCadira) has been recently formed and will provide “critical support ” to all the islands when disaster strikes.
James called on all Caribbean islands to follow the Grenadian Committee’s example and establish similar organization.
Latoya Bennett, a member of the GDPT, read a short address by Senator Dr. Winston Garraway, Grenada’s Minister with responsibility for Disaster Management, in which Garraway called the launch of the Committee a “significantly important” initiative.
Garraway noted that the new committee “will help establish greater ties and partnerships in disaster management and preparedness: “
Among the other guest speakers at the launch were Gideon Exeter representing CCadira, Rahul Singh of Global Medic and Nancy Drolet of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Several members of the Caribbean Consular Corps were present at the event.
Persons wishing to volunteer with the GDPT can get in touch with the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org.