The Role of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force in Disaster Management

Dr. Sanjay Badri-Maharaj was a Visiting Fellow at IDSA. He is an independent defence analyst and attorney-at-law based in Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a PhD on India's nuclear weapons programme and an MA from the Department of War Studies, Kings College London. He has served as a consultant to the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of National Security. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • January 2012

    A wealthy twin-island nation, Trinidad and Tobago has had few serious disasters to challenge its capacity to cope with such incidents. Although several plans for disaster management exist, these have remained largely th eoretical exercises. However, recent instances of devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, with the accompanying tsunami in the latter, have prompted some steps towards an enhanced role for the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) in disaster management. This paper will seek to outline the disaster management framework of Trinidad and Tobago and to highlight the role of the TTDF detailed therein. It will also give a brief outline of the practical experience of the TTDF in regional disaster management and highlight recent steps to improve capabilities. However, it will be shown that, despite these efforts, substantial capability gaps remain and limit the ability of the TTDF to perform its specified disaster management tasks.

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