The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) in collaboration with international and local partners rolled out the first session of a simulation exercise focused on testing the country’s oil spill response proficiency.
During the opening ceremony at the Commission’s headquarters on
Wednesday, CDC Director-General Kester Craig explained that the exercise
is one of several activities leading up to Tradewinds 2020— to be held
Tradewinds is a US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)-sponsored maritime security and disaster response exercise executed annually to strengthen the security of the Caribbean region.
This local exercise will see participants divided into groups and presented with an oil spill scenario for which they have to strategise a response.
Craig noted that these sessions will outline the responsibilities of individuals and organisations who are part of the country’s oil spill contingency plan.
“So this year, for exercise Tradewinds Guyana, has opted to two of its main hazard response systems; one is our oil spill response system and two is flood response…so for oil spill response we will be having several sessions which are table-top exercise to mainly orient the players that are a part of our oil spill contingency plan to their main role and responsibility.”
The CDC Director further explained that when the exercise culminates, some changes will be made — citing that by then, a proper understanding of the roles’ challenges will be gained.
“So, today’s exercise is really one of the next steps in the operationalisation of our national contingency plan. Coming out of the exercise, we will be making further adjustments to the plan because we don’t really understand some of the challenges of the roles and responsibilities properly until we test it,” Craig asserted.
Future implementation of the plan will see the deployment of acquired oil spill equipment to those agencies playing a critical role in responding.
Some of the international, regional and local partners include US SOUTHCOM, the US Coast Guard, US Humanitarian Assistance Programme (HAP), the Canadian Military, NASA, Global Fishing Watch, CDEMA, the Guyana Fire Service, the GDF Coast Guard, Immigration Services, and the Guyana Police Force among others.