CDB conducts Disaster Risk Management survey in St. Kitts

Dr Barbra Carby of the Caribbean Development Bank interviews farmer Mr Deon Weekes (left) of Sandy Point. Looking on is Mr Shavon Douglas, Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Senior Business Development Officer.

St. Kitts (September 23, 2010) — Dr Barbara Carby, a Disaster Risk Management Specialist acting as consultant to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) was in St. Kitts Monday and Tuesday last week (September 13-14) where she conducted a disaster risk management survey that will lead to the production of a tool kit to help businesses in recovery planning.

The consultant, whose substantive post is Director of the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, University of the West Indies, was hosted by the Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis. With the assistance of Development Bank’s Senior Business Development Officer, Mr Shavon Douglas, she interviewed a number of the bank’s clients.

“I came on behalf of the Caribbean Development Bank because they realise that the whole matter of disaster risk management is important for the micro, small and medium size enterprises,” she said. Due to unfavourable weather conditions in the region at the time of her visit, Dr Carby who is based in Jamaica was not able to interview clients on Nevis.

According to Dr Carby, the CDB had sometimes back held a disaster preparedness seminar and coming out of the seminar, the business owners asked for assistance in recovery planning — what the bank calls business continuity planning (BCP).

“The CDB has decided to develop a tool kit to assist the micro, small and medium size enterprises in coming up with their business continuity plans,” said Dr Carby. “My job is to produce the tool kit.”

As part of the background work she spoke with some business owners to assess the challenges that they have had, particularly related to various natural hazards and then see how they cope with those challenges, “also to introduce the idea of business continuity planning to them because in the Caribbean we have not thought about what we call business continuity planning much at any level.

“So it is to introduce the idea to them, see what they think of the idea, if they think it is a good idea and then get some feedback from them and see the sort of format they would like to see for the tool kit. The mission really is to make sure that the product is tailored to the needs of the users” explained Dr Carby.

The micro, small and medium business owners interviewed were all clients of the Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis, because the network is with CDB’s development partners. Some of the clients/businesses visited included Esmond Henderson (agriculture), Arthur Eddy (Trucking), Michael Bridgewater (Taxi/Tour Operator), Spectrum (Tour Operations specialising in mountain bikes), Carl Hewlett (Agriculture), Alain Isaiah (Graphic Design), Deon Weekes (Agriculture), Shaday Peters (Hair Design), Khrystus Wallace (Graphic Design) and Nikelle Newton (Hair Design).

Mr Shavon Douglas, Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Senior Business Development Officer, who was accompanied by Business Support Officers Ellisha Henry and Kenja Moton from the bank, said that the criteria that was used to choose the clients to be interviewed was based on CDB’s request that they wanted to look at micro, small and medium enterprises specifically persons who are involved in agriculture and craft.

The CDB consultant said that her interviews in St. Kitts were very informative, noting that some of the problems that were discussed would be captured in the tool kit. She however commented that the tool kit will not provide solutions but would be a guidance document that would assist the business owners to come up with the particular solution they need for their business.

“You can appreciate that if it is to cover the entire region for micro, small and medium size enterprises it will be quite a challenge to come up with a product that can be applied to all of them,” noted Dr Carby. “It is important that we get the feedback from the potential users so we can tailor the product. The tool kit itself really will depend on the initiative of the business owners to go through the document and come up with their plan.”

According to Dr Carby, the tool kit (final document) is due by the 14th of February next year. Before that there will be a test run as the CDB will organise a workshop in November which will bring together some business owners and in that workshop they will go through the tool kit and any fine tuning needed, will be done then.

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