Head of T&T disaster relief quits after flood of criticism

Dave Williams

(Trinidad Guardian) Four days after saying he felt no need for him to resign, Office of Disaster Preparedness Management (ODPM) deputy CEO Dave Williams on Tuesday tendered his resignation with immediate effect.

The T&T Guardian understands that Williams tendered his resignation on Tuesday following a closed door meeting with Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon.

Williams had come under fire after a press conference last Friday when, in admitting to the ODPM’s poor response to the severe flooding which hit parts of Trinidad, nonetheless described it as a “small thing.”

On Sunday, during a tour of flood affected Mayaro and environs, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley seemed to give a hint at Williams’ future when he said he was convinced that the ministry did not have the correct personnel in the ODPM. Rowley expressed his dissatisfaction with the flood response mechanism, especially after what happened with Tropical Storm Bret where the relevant response agencies were also slow on the draw in getting to the affected people. The PM also added that he would ensure the ODPM has the necessary personnel “who have the attitude and the aptitude to respond to this kind of disaster.”

On Tuesday, hours before Williams tendered his resignation, Dillon said he agreed with the PM that firm action needed to be taken against the ODPM for its poor response to recent flooding in east, central and south Trinidad.

However, when asked whether Williams was asked to step down, Dillon replied: “There are issues to be treated with in the ODPM and we are reviewing the procedures in terms of personnel, processes and systems.”

Pressed further, Dillon, who was at the time fielding questions from the media following a workshop of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem at Police Training Academy, reiterated that Rowley had already spoken on the issue.


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