ODPM Head Resigns Amid Widespread Criticisms


New Man at Helm Promises to Move Department Forward

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO — Captain Neville Wint has been named as the person to helm the much-criticized Office for Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) following the resignation of Colonel Dave Williams.

Wint replaces Williams, who was deputy chief executive officer (CEO).

Wint was reported by the Trinidad Newsday as saying on Tuesday that while he was sorry to see Colonel Williams leave the job, he is now prepared to take the ODPM forward and continue with some of the policies put in place by Williams.

Williams resignation was handed to Minister of National Security Brigadier Edmund Dillon, who accepted it late Tuesday.

According to Newsday, sources revealed Williams was not asked to resign but opted to do so of his own free will amid widespread criticism leveled against him in the aftermath of the ODPM’s handling of last week’s widespread flooding.

Among his bashers was Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who promised that heads will roll for the ODPM’s alleged mishandling of the flooding which plagued south, central and east Trinidad, Newsday reported.

Wint on Thursday said the ODPM must continue to function even in the wake of criticism.
He was reported by Newsday as saying, “We are asking the population to be extra vigilant as the already saturated grounds can result in rivers rising suddenly, even homes being flooded out. In event of flooding and if persons are marooned, we are asking them to get to higher ground by being vigilant and if they observe that the water levels are rising, we are asking persons to evacuate to a shelter of a family member’s home. Where that is not possible and persons choose not to evacuate, we ask them to take the necessary precautions and seek higher ground within the home if it is a two-storey or call the emergency 511-999 or toll free numbers for regional corporations.”

He reminded members of the public that the ODPM is entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring situations once they get the information from regional corporations.

Additionally, the ODPM will continue to monitor the hazard impact, requests made for assistance by affected municipal corporations and coordinating of multi-agency response to notifications.

He also noted the ODPM will continue to provide emergency supplies as needed by the corporations.

Wint’s substantive post is relief officer with responsibility for the ODPM – until a deputy and CEO are appointed. He was a Defense Force officer for 24 years and has been with the ODPM for the past nine years.