Wiredja Online News Logo

WiredJa Online News

Wiredja Online News Logo

WiredJa Online News

Log in

JAMAICA | Wheatley sets two-week deadline for Disaster Readiness Plan

Featured Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley
KINGSTON, January 25, 2018 - Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr. Andrew Wheatley has established a working group to immediately create a plan of action to address all outstanding issues related to the telecommunications component of the National Alert System. The group has representatives from both the Digicel and Flow telecommunications networks, as well as ODPEM and the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology MSET, has been given two weeks to  “We (at the Ministry) are going to take the lead on this matter and I have given this working group two weeks to come back to me with a report and plan of action to address all of the outstanding issues associated with the telecommunications components of the National Alert System,” Dr. Wheatley said. Yesterday, the Science and Technology Minister held a joint meeting with high level officials from telecommunications firms, Flow, Digicel and the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET). The meeting come out of apparent communications deficiencies identified with the National Alert System as a result of the tsunami scare that gripped the nation some weeks ago. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss, with an eye to resolving, all issues concerning the state of readiness of the telecommunications entities as it relates to national disaster preparedness, specifically as it relates to earthquake and tsunami type incidents and the attendant systems that must be in place to handle such incidents. Dr Wheatley reiterated that “telecommunications entities play a critical role in ensuring that citizens are notified of impending threats from natural disasters and we must ensure that all attendant measures required to optimize the functions and synchronisation of all telecommunications systems as it relates to their operation within the wider National Alert System” During this meeting both major service providers outlined their current state of readiness and highlighted specific issues that were still outstanding since the initiative to create a cohesive National Alert System was first announced in 2010. The Minister, while acknowledging that the matter is somewhat complex to, expressed dissatisfaction that so much time had elapsed with no definitive solution to date. Minister Wheatley also stated:"I my mind, the technology to accomplish what is required exists, so that is no reason why we cannot make this happen quickly" Coming out of the deliberations Minister Wheatley requested that The Minister insisted that such a plan must ensure that all systems be brought to a level in keeping with global best practices.