The Dominica Employers’ Federation (DEF) in collaboration with the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are hosting a European Union (EU) funded, two day workshop under the theme ‘Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery’ at the Fort Young Hotel.
During the opening ceremony on Tuesday 12 September 2017, President of the DEF Benoit Bardouille said this workshop is a very important one given the catastrophic incidents that transpired in the northern Lesser Antilles over the past week as a result of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey.
“Thus the issue of business continuity planning and recognizing the risk that we face as a result of these major issues, like hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters, strengthens the need to ensure that we put procedures or strategies in place for the protection of not only our personnel but also assets to be able to function in the event of a disaster,” he said.
Bardouille said the establishment of disaster recovery plans need to be examined in order to prevent failure of businesses. He said the lessons learned over the last few days, should point to how these businesses respond to continuing their business operations.
“When you take a look at the television and you see how some these areas have been decimated you then ask yourself, how are they going to build back businesses now if they never had a plan or a recovery plan putting things together then it will take them an extremely long time to come back or they may never be able to come back at all,” he said.
Bardouille told the participants that during the course of this workshop they will be equipped with what is needed to make proper plans so that their businesses to do suffer losses due to lack of planning.
Plans he told them need to be put in place to also mitigate against risks associated with the aftermath of disasters.
He added that a plan being developed is only one aspect of the process and so once becoming knowledgeable of the risks, procedures need to be put in place as well as the processes reviewed to ensure they can be put into practice when the time comes. This he said is put into practice at the Dominica Air and Sea Port Authority where regular drills and exercises are carried out.
“At the airport for example and we expect that any time there might be an emergency, now if there’s an emergency the staff needs to know what to do, what are the next steps to be able to take on if there’s an earthquake, if there’s a plane crash, if there is a bomb there are things that constantly you need to put procedures in place,” he explained.
These procedures he warned must also be known by the employees who will be able to operate effectively when certain situations arise.
“There must be drills and exercises, it cannot be a plan that’s on the shelf, it’s of no use to you if it’s on the shelf,” he said.