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Press Releases & Statements

Virgin Islands Territorial 
Emergency Management Agency

For Immediate Release

June 2, 2015

Nationally Recognized Homeland Security Experts
Conduct Executive-Level Seminar for Cabinet Officials

A team of nationally-recognized homeland security experts recently held an intensive seminar for Cabinet officials in an effort to engage the newly-appointed leaders in strategic planning, policy development and organizational design in addressing the Territory’s homeland security challenges.

On May 20th, department and agency leaders gathered on St. Croix for a roundtable discussions on homeland security developed to help strengthen capability to prevent, deter, and respond to catastrophic events and to build the intergovernmental, interagency, and civil military cooperation that homeland security requires. The Executive Education Seminar, titled “Hurricane Response, Recovery and Resiliency” was conducted by a Mobile Education Team from the Naval Post-Graduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS).

The CHDS Mobile Education Team developed a multimedia scenario-based seminar to explore the US Virgin Islands’ homeland security risks and challenges. The content was designed specifically for the USVI, to help strengthen the territorial government’s capability to plan for, prevent, respond to and recover from catastrophic events and terrorism.

“The seminar provided us the opportunity to discuss our roles and responsibilities, key decisions, and actions across the homeland security mission areas,” said Mona Barnes, VITEMA Director. “We discussed our authorities, capabilities and concept of operations relevant to managing a major hurricane affecting in the US Virgin Islands.”

This interactive roundtable process allowed the executive level officials to examine the VI’s response and recovery operations and to pinpoint where critical gaps exist before a major incident occurs.

“By the end of our roundtable discussions, we were able to identify key areas that must be addressed in regards to trigger points for executive decisions, pre-and-post hurricane landfall,” Barnes said. “That’s important, because we don’t want to wait until an incident occurs to find out there where the gaps are.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sponsored the seminar with support from the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA). In attendance were Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter, then acting governor, Cabinet and other senior officials. Also in attendance were FEMA Region 2 Regional Administrator, Jerome Hatfield, and FEMA Caribbean Area Division Director, Alejandro de La Campa, and representatives of the American Red Cross of the Virgin Islands and the US Coast Guard. 

FEMA Caribbean Area Division Director Alejandro de la Campa, Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter, VITEMA Director Mona Barnes, and FEMA Region 2 Regional Administrator Jerome Hatfield.


Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter, serving as acting governor, responds to a question from the discussion moderator.


St. Croix Police Chief Arthur Hector, center, during roundtable discussions on emergency response operations.


Cabinet officials at the Homeland Security Executive Education Seminar on St. Croix.


VITEMA Director Mona Barnes and US Coast Guard Commander Robert Hemp.


Stan McKinney (standing), Executive Education Program Director, interacts with seminar participants.