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The Caribbean
International Disaster Response Law (IDRL)
Workshop 2021 

November 17 - 19, 2021
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Sonia Gill

Secretary General, Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU)

Ms Sonia Gill is an attorney at law, development practitioner and former broadcast journalist, media regulator. She is also the first ever woman to be appointed as Secretary General of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union.


An honours graduate of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of London (UoL), prior to taking up duties as the Multi-Country Manager and Head of Programme for UNOPS in the Dutch and English Caribbean, Ms Gill completed a tour of duty as CBU Secretary General based in Barbados.


Prior to that she was the Assistant Resident Representative and Governance Advisor of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Jamaica. There she oversaw the implementation of award-winning projects focussing on Local Governance with emphases on security and safety, as well as transparency and anti-corruption.


After undertaking post-graduate studies at the UWI, Ms Gill held the post of Assistant Executive Director, and Executive Director (Ag.) of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica for over a decade.


Ms Gill lectured in Constitutional and Administrative Law and was also a faculty member of the Caribbean School of Media and Communications (CARIMAC), lecturing in Media Skills as well as Media and Language.

She began her career as a Reporter, Editor and Producer at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation in Barbados.

Ms Gill distinguished herself as a valedictorian of the Barbados Community College, and attained a first-class honours degree in Mass Communications at UWI, which she pursued under a National Development Scholarship from the Government of Barbados. Ms Gill also attained an honours degree in law from the University of London. At the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica where she gained the Legal Education Certificate, she was a Dean’s List graduate and co-valedictorian.


Ms Gill is a member of Rotary International, where she has achieved the designation of Paul Harris Fellow.


Event Moderator:

Opening and Closing Ceremonies

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Ariel Kestens

Head of Delegation, Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean, IFRC

Ariel has performed in national, regional and global roles across all divisions of IFRC in the field and headquarters for over 20 years. He was a volunteer of Argentina Red Cross for 10 years and its Director General for 4 years. Ariel holds an MBA from IESE Business School, a Diploma in Public Policies and in Humanitarian Diplomacy. He served as the Head of Pan American Disaster Response Unit in 2008 and 2009. He currently serves as Head of Delegation for the Dutch- and English-speaking Caribbean, in Port of Spain and Acting Head of Corporate Services for the Americas Region.


Facilitator Session:

Opening Remarks

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Stacy Cummings

Legislative Advocacy Advisor, Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean, IFRC

Stacy is the Legislative Advocacy Advisor for the Dutch and English-Speaking Caribbean based in the Port of Spain Country Cluster Delegation. She has over 20 years’ experience in law, as well as in international negotiations and diplomacy. In her current position, she is responsible for developing and advancing the legislative advocacy strategy in disaster law and other thematic areas for the IFRC in the Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean.


Stacy holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the University of the West Indies and a Master of Laws (LLM) Degree from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.


Facilitator Session:

Optimizing the Auxiliary Role of the Red Cross

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Jessie Jordan

Disaster Law Officer, Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean, IFRC 

Jessie supports the implementation of Disaster Law projects in the Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean by providing technical and capacity building support to Red Cross National Societies to enhance their knowledge and skills in Disaster Law and strengthen their auxiliary role. 


Facilitator Session:

Requesting and accepting international offers of assistance

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Adrian Alexander

Disaster Law Researcher, Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean, IFRC

Adrian is responsible for several research studies in five OECS territories in IDRL, DRR and CCA under the Ready Together Project.


He is a former member of the Governing Board of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society on which he served from 2018 to 2021.


Facilitator Session:

Event Moderator

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Carlon Mendoza

Research Officer, Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean, IFRC

Carlon’s research areas delve into IDRL, DRR and CCA law and policy frameworks in the Commonwealth Caribbean, intersecting refugee law and human rights, and the rights of vulnerable persons. He has served as the Legal Counsel for the Belize Tourism Board and has held the post of Magistrate with the judiciary of Belize. He is a Chevening alumni and a graduate from the University of Reading’s LLM in International Law with Development.

Facilitator Session:

Adapting to a Pandemic: Emergency Response during COVID-19

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Sophie Teyssier

IFRC Americas Disaster Law and Legislative Advocacy Coordinator

Sophie assists governments and Red Cross National Societies to implement climate-smart Disaster Risk Management (DRM) policy frameworks that facilitate the entry of incoming disaster relief (IDRL) and create an enabling environment for disaster risk reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. She also provides capacity building support to National Societies in Disaster Law, Humanitarian Diplomacy and the Auxiliary Role.


Facilitator Session:

Making the Case for IDRL in existing regulatory frameworks

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Marie-Helene Jost Cholin

Emergency Preparedness Training and IDRL activities Coordinator, French Red Cross PIRAC

Marie-Hélène JOST CHOLIN is a Jurist and Trainer specialized in Human Migration and Displacements, Refugee Protection and International Humanitarian Law.


Marie-Hélène joined the French Red Cross PIRAC (Regional Intervention Platform for the Americas and the Caribbean) in August 2020 as Deputy Disaster Manager, contributing to support the DM within emergency response operations and coordinating activities and events related to preparedness to emergency response.


She has a proven experience in the field of Human Migration and Displacement and refugee protection having worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, the International Rescue Committee on the Thai-Myanmar border, The International Institute of Humanitarian Law of Sanremo in Italy, the Belgian State Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons.



Facilitator Session:

Opening Remarks

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Elizabeth Riley

Executive Director, CDEMA

Ms. Riley has over 20 years’ experience in disaster management at the regional and international levels in various capacities. She has played a leadership role at CDEMA in coordinating regional responses to emergencies from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 to the current COVID-19 pandemic. She has authored and presented technical papers in disaster and environmental management whilst attached to CDEMA, the University of the West Indies and the Ministry of Physical Development and Environment in Barbados. Ms. Riley 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.


Facilitator Session:

Opening Remarks

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Andria Grosvenor

Deputy Executive Director, CDEMA

Andria Grosvenor is a humanitarian, with a passion for helping people manage disaster risks, to which she has devoted herself for twenty-five (25) years. Her endeavours over the last few years have been more strategic than operational, focusing on strategic and corporate planning, resource mobilisation and monitoring and evaluation. Ms. Grosvenor has also been the focal point for coordinating the development of the CDM Strategy 2007-2012 and reporting on the regional achievement of results within the Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy 2014-2024, which contributes to the Sendai Disaster Risk Reduction Framework.


Facilitator Session:

Making the Case for IDRL in existing regulatory frameworks

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Kevon Campbell

Logistics Specialist, CDEMA

Kevon Campbell is a disaster management practitioner who is attached to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency as a Logistics Specialist. Before this he worked in the national disaster office of Trinidad and Tobago as a Contingency Planning Specialist and at an overseas development agency in London, England. He holds a master’s degree in Crisis and Disaster Management (Distinction) from the University of Portsmouth United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of The West Indies.


His practical experience within the region includes deployments to Dominica, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas and most recently St. Vincent and The Grenadines in response to numerous different hazard impacts.


Facilitator Session:

Coordination and preparedness for International Disaster Assistance


Claudia Herrera

Executive Secretary, CEPREDENAC

Facilitator Session:

Peer to peer exchanges: Success stories in IDRL

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Muhammad Anwar Baksh

Planning and Development Officer, ODPM

Muhammad Anwar Baksh presently serves as the Planning and Development Officer at the Ministry of National Security - Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management and is a young disaster management professional and champion for the promotion of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management within the Caribbean Region. His expertise lies in communications and networking where technical capacity meets human interaction. Critical to his function is the focus on the advancement of the Governance framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Trinidad and Tobago in support to the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030).


At present, Mr. Baksh continues to provide technical support and oversight of the development of the Comprehensive Disaster Management Policy, the CDM Legislation and the Country work programme which are all geared and strengthening Trinidad and Tobago’s legislative and governance framework for Disaster Management in keeping with Sendai Framework and CDEMA’s CDM Strategy.


Facilitator Session:

Peer to peer exchanges: Success stories in IDRL

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Tania Chambers

IFRC Consultant

Tania Chambers is a legal, governance and organisational development professional, who has worked as a consultant to public and private entities throughout the Caribbean, for over 12 years. She has advised government departments, NGOs and UN agencies and crafted national policies and strategies for legislative change and process reform in Jamaica and the Caribbean.  These have included projects with the Jamaica Red Cross, the IFRC, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency, which have caused her to develop a special awareness of the functions, goals and interactions of the IFRC and Caribbean disaster management and response groups.


She is a former Commonwealth Scholar and has a Masters in Law.


Facilitator Session:

Legal Facilities for Eligible Humanitarian Actors


Regional IDRL Working Group: The way forward

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Dr. Joy St. John

Executive Director, CARPHA

Dr St John rose in the ranks of Public Health in Barbados from 1994 to become the first Barbadian Chief Medical Officer of Barbados in 2005. Dr St John also represented Barbados on the Executive Board of WHO and then became the first Caribbean person to Chair the Executive Board from 2012 to 2013.


Dr St John  finally left the post of CMO in 2017 when she became the Assistant Director General at the WHO HQ in Switzerland. There she held the Portfolio of Climate and Other Determinants of Health and successfully completed the first phase of the Climate Change and Health SIDS Initiative.


In July 2019 Dr St John became the Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency. CARPHA has led the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Dr St John’s leadership has seen her have over 200 speaking engagements about COVID-19 as she engages with multiple sectors, and the Health leaders and Heads of Government in CARICOM.


Facilitator Session:

Adapting to a Pandemic: Emergency Response during COVID-19

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Dr. Lisa Indar

Director, Surveillance Disease, Prevention and Control, CARPHA

Facilitator Session:

Adapting to a Pandemic: Emergency Response during COVID-19

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Dr. Timothy Affonso

IFRC Consultant

Dr.  Timothy Affonso is an attorney-at-law with 15 years’ experience. He is also the Deputy Dean (Student matters) at the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. He is also an Associate Tutor at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Constitutional Law, Law and Legal Systems and Trial Advocacy. He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of the West Indies; a Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School; a Masters of Law Degree in Public Law and Human Rights from the University College London and a Doctor of Philosophy in Public International Law and International Human Rights Law from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. He has a Post-Graduate Certificate, with Distinction in University Teaching and Learning and has professional training in the Teaching of Law from the University College London.



Facilitator Session:

Surviving the Aftermath: Panel Discussion

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Terez Curry

President, Bahamas Red Cross Society

Terez Curry ( is the President of The Bahamas Red Cross Society. She became President on July 1, 2019.


Mrs. Curry is a longstanding volunteer of The Bahamas Red Cross Society and have served in many capacities over the years. Mrs. Curry took the mantel of governing the National Society with much enthusiasm and in 2019 led the way in the Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. Under her leadership, the National Society has grown exponentially, increased, strengthened its capacity, and continues to have many initiatives that are helping to improve lives in many communities. Terez currently sits as a member of the Localisation Workstream of the Grand Bargain and has been on several panel discussions on the matter. 


Terez is a former Private Banker, with an internal audit and risk management background. She along with her husband Joseph now owns and operates FranDor Limited an investment, trade and consultancy firm and also operates Bayhill Realty, a full service Real Estate Company. Terez has a Masters of Business Administration degree from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Acadia University. She is married to Joseph Curry and the couple has two adult children.


Facilitator Session:

Surviving the Aftermath: Panel Discussion