The Government of Barbados has signed a land agreement with the World Food Programme (WFP), which will see the creation of a Logistics Hub and Centre of Excellence.
Signing the agreement this morning were Minister of Home Affairs and Information, Wilfred Abrahams, World Food Programme Representative and Country Director, Caribbean Multi-Country Office, Regis Chapman, and Chief Executive Officer, Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) Inc., Hadley Bourne, in the Ministry’s Conference Room, Wildey, St. Michael.
Following talks between the Government of Barbados and the WFP, a proposal was made by the WFP to establish a logistic hub in Barbados that would provide assistance in the event of natural disasters to the Caribbean and possibly Latin America.
“We have accelerated our commitment as partners, such that we’ve identified sufficient land in the vicinity of the airport that the World Food Programme can actually put its logistics hub allowing easy access to the runway, easy access to the network of Barbados, and also easy access onward to the rest of the Caribbean. So what we’re going to do here today is we’re going to officially sign the agreement for the logistics hub for the lease of the land,” Minister Abrahams stated.
Mr. Chapman noted the push to establish a logistic hub in Barbados came about after working with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in Dominica, following Hurricane Maria; the Bahamas, following Hurricane Dorian, the volcanic eruption in St. Vincent and the COVID-19 pandemic. He said they recognised that there was a missing piece to the puzzle for disaster management in the region, and the soon-to-be developed logistics hub would provide that missing piece of the puzzle.
“So we’re really excited about this hub, we’ve been able to identify with your support a perfect plot of land, within the Grantley Adams International Airport lands and that will also allow for a more Caribbean response to disasters that affect the Caribbean. So, rather than supplies and equipment needing to come from outside, we’ll have supplies and equipment prepositioned closer to where it’s needed most,” Mr. Chapman explained.
GAIA INC.’s CEO, Bourne expressed: “I’m glad that the team at the airport along with World Food Programme has gotten to this point [and] I look forward to seeing this logistics come to fruition and the resilience and capacity that it would bring to the region in terms of disaster management and preparedness and response.”
An official launch ceremony is expected to take place next week at the site where the Logistics Hub and Centre for Excellence will be located.