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Setting a New Path for the Red Cross Movement

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Contact: Rose Marie Harris

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - There is need to expand the Red Cross Movement to help plan and guide post disaster programmes geared towards the improvement of the overall livelihood of the population.

In an address to mark World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day Thursday May 08, 2003, Governor General Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy is of the firm belief that now is the time for red cross volunteers to move beyond what she termed the “blood and bandages image” in order to make the organisation more proactive and more strategic in its programming.

“Regrettably we seem to have decided that the Red Cross is just another youth movement, something to occupy their minds and energies. A Red Cross event or programme attracts but a few adults. But if we are going to turn the Red Cross Society around, we must find more dedicated and sustained adult leadership to manage its programmes and projects. Members of professional organisations must see a role for themselves in a 21st century Red Cross Society,” the Governor General explained.

Dame Pearlette identified Architects water and sanitation engineers and community planners as indispensable to post-disaster rehabilitation efforts; health professionals as the backbone of the medical side of the humanitarian world; social workers, counsellors, trauma specialists are needed to deal with the mental wounds and psychological trauma of violence of many of today’s victims.

“We need a collaborative approach to the relief of suffering and pain, we need a new type of humanitarian worker; we need to upgrade our first aid and emergency training and services. Above all we need to strengthen our local Red Cross Society not only to enable it to respond to our needs at home but also to help the International Movement to sustain its position as the world’s largest and most effective humanitarian network.”

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