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Is there any political interference at NEMO?



Editor: I listened to a programme on the National Broadcasting Corporation (107.5 FM) carried on almost all radio stations.{{more}} The discussion was about our preparation for this upcoming hurricane season. Persons who sat on the programme were Miss Michelle Forbes from the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), Mr David Burgin from the Meteorological Office and Mr Maurice Slater, a Building professional.

The programme was timely, but I found the discussion limited.

I say this because the information or lack of information that came out was not interesting. All those persons who sat on that programme are highly trained in what they do. That’s why I was disappointed with the content. Everywhere one goes in St. Vincent, persons complain about NEMO not meeting their needs.

Let me remind us of the Prime Minister’s words “I am not living on Mars.” So I know some of the complaints which persons are making are grounded in fact. Ms. Michelle Forbes pointed out what NEMO is doing, but I am wondering why Ms. Forbes is not listening to the cries of certain persons.

Some questions for Ms. Forbes: (1) Is NEMO in a position to help? (2) Is there financial difficulty at NEMO? (3)Is it true to say Ms. Forbes has to get the Prime Minister’s consent before helping? (4) Are you convinced, Ms. Forbes, that you are doing a great job?

Let me remind you that you are highly trained and need to demonstrate that you are! (Too many complaints from Vincentians about NEMO’s lack of performance). Are you aware that they have to make an effort and need to know that your organization should help if the need arises. So let the Prime Minister know you should function without political interference.

Remember, NEMO should be about Vincentians.

Mr David Burgin defended the Met. Office and NEMO against strong comments which were made by some Vincentians about their failure to give early warning to persons in relation to Hurricane Tomas. He said information must come from the Barbados Met Office before they give it to NEMO, and then NEMO, would give it to us. My questions to Mr. Burgin are: What’s the function of our Met Office Why does NBC Radio feature weather reports from Alan Archer?

Should Vincentians look outside for weather reports? Vincentians need to pay attention to the correct information. The question is, where would we find that information?

Maurice Slater shared some information with us in terms of the building code, but said monies are hard to come by. I think he knows what he is saying. The Prime Minister will answer him.

Kingsley DeFreitas