SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – On Tuesday April 9th, the Support Bureau for Emergency Support Function (ESF 9) Governmental Affairs convened its first preparatory meeting for 2019. This meeting consisted of persons within the Ministry of General Affairs that are charged with providing the necessary support and assistance to ESF 9 in the event of a disaster. Charged with governmental affairs ESF 9 is also responsible for the Continuity of Government. As such, ESF 9 has taken a two (2)-prong approach to disaster management. This approach consists of emergency management and of Continuity of Government.
In its meeting of April 9th,the Support Bureau of ESF 9, reviewed its tasks, role and responsibilities. The contact list has been updated along with other decisions such as headquarters, meeting times and operational aspects of ESF 9. Other topics discussed during the meeting were the execution plan of the support bureau. This execution plan outlines the sequence of steps to be taken in the event of a disaster.
A second meeting was held with the Ministerial Operations Center. The Ministerial Operations Center (a group separate from the emergency response team of ESF 9) is charged with ensuring that the critical functions within the ministries are up and running as soon as possible. Per Ministry, representatives have been nominated for ensuring such.
This is the first that such a group has been established to ensure Continuity of Government. In the coming weeks, this group will review draft plans and update where necessary as well as prepare their Ministries and respective Ministers for Continuity of Government. Going forward the ESF 9 team will meet weekly (for the Support Bureau) and bi-weekly (for the Ministerial Operations Center) to ensure that all plans are updated and prepared prior to the start of the hurricane season 2019.