Continued from previous page On March 8, 2020, CARICAD joined the Barbados Vocational Training Board, a partner organisation, to jointly celebrate 40 years of work at a church service. At the same time, the IMF, ECCB, AMAZON, GOOGLE and other major entities were restricting travel of their staff. The Tokyo Olympics were also rescheduled. In the days immediately following the church service, the Chairman, Mr. Konata Lee and all CARICAD staff (including remote staff) met at a prior scheduled meeting to determine a set of next steps regarding the strategic activities of CARICAD. Mr. Lee had traveled to Barbados to participate in the anniversary service. The uncertainties associated with the Coronavirus were identified as the main risk to deliver on plans. Shortly afterwards, on March 11 the world was placed on enhanced alert when the WHO declared a global pandemic. By the end of March, several countries had closed their borders and commercial air travel was grinding to a halt. While countries struggled to address the crisis, CARICAD considered how to continue providing value to the Member States. Among the elements considered and ultimately delivered were suggestions on how to develop remote work policy, topic-relevant webinars, the development of a Business Continuity Plan Template for COVID-19 and the finalisation of a COVID-19 sensitive hurricane recovery guide template. Chairman, Mr. Konata Lee traveled to Barbados to participate in the anniversary service. Fortunately, CARICAD was able to pivot to remote work for all staff members using the remote policy that was already in place. The internal experience on remote work was compared with information available from other sources. The analysis offered perspectives and discussion points that supported our full-blown remote work experience and operations when the government ordered the shutdown. As far as possible, the jobs of all staff members were converted to digital delivery. In addition, the proactive investment in ICT allowed the staff to remain in contact through cloud access to productivity tools and data storage. Preparatory sessions were held to test new digital tools, familiarise staff in their use, and to further explore and explain the capabilities of other digital tools in our possession. Delivery of technical assignments shifted to virtual means and new methods of interaction and execution were developed. The negative effects of COVID-19 on the operations of CARICAD were significantly reduced because our conversion to digital operations were far advanced by the time remote work became necessary. COVID-19, instead, acted as an accelerant for work that was already underway. Looking back at the experience it can be successfully argued that CARICAD’s strategy to increase the use of digital tools, the associated improvement of human resource policies and competent, motivated staff were the main reasons the Centre did not suffer significant disruption. The actions of the Centre proved that cost-effective decisions can be made to deliver value, and, in our case, we were able to address the priority areas of access, outreach and collaboration. 3

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