CDEMA gets new head
The Chairman of the Council of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Vincent Byron Jr, attorney general and minister of justice and legal affairs, St Kitts-Nevis, has announced the appointment of Elizabeth Riley as executive director of the agency effective July 1.
Riley, a Barbadian national, joined the team at the CDEMA Coordinating Unit in 2001 and has been acting as executive director since May 1, 2020. Prior to this she held the post of deputy executive director since April 2012. She also acted in the deputy position between 2009 and 2012.
As executive director, she will be responsible for the provision of overall direction and leadership to CDEMA. This will include implementing the organisation’s mandate through programme management, including strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, resource mobilisation, financial management, partnerships and stakeholder relationships, and corporate communications.
Riley has over 20 years’ experience in disaster management at the regional and international levels in various capacities. At CDEMA, she has, inter alia, provided leadership for the agency’s technical programming and provided strategic guidance in the areas of preparedness and response, mitigation, recovery, education and training and information management. At the operational level, Riley has played a leadership role in the coordination of regional responses to every major regional emergency event since 2004. Her field experience includes the leadership of CDEMA deployment teams in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma (2017) and Dorian (2019). Riley is currently playing a leadership role in the coordination of the region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, response to the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the ongoing floods in Guyana and Suriname.
She has written, presented and published technical papers in disaster management and environmental management while attached to CDEMA, and prior to that during her tenure at The University of the West Indies and the Ministry of Physical Development and Environment in Barbados. Riley has also lectured in Disaster Management at The University of the West Indies, Mona. At the international level, she has contributed to a range of technical advisory committees and is currently vice-chair of the ICG/Caribe Early Warning Systems Group of Experts on Coastal Hazards. She also sits on the Regional Advisory Group leading the implementation of the Regional Strategy for Latin America and the Caribbean on Disaster Risk Management in the Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Sectors.