Long-time staffer at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) Mr. Jasen Penn has been appointed to act as the department’s Director effective January 1, government announced on January 7.
Acting Governor, Mr. David D. Archer, Jr. said Mr. Penn’s appointment is yet another example of the development of Virgin Islands talent within the Public Service.
“Mr. Penn is one of those persons who began as a volunteer with what was then called the Disaster Auxiliary Corps. It is gratifying to see one of our own, who has been acknowledged as a disaster risk management leader in the region, put that expertise to use for the good of the Territory,” Mr. Archer said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Penn’s colleague Ms. Sheniah Armstrong has been appointed to act as Deputy Director for the department.
Permanent Secretary for the Office of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Sharleen DaBreo-Lettsome, MBE, said that the dual promotions of Mr. Penn and Ms. Armstrong from within the department demonstrate how the entire Public Service benefits from effective succession planning and ongoing development.
“These are two officers who have demonstrated their commitment to the Territory and to the work that they do, and Government has in turn supported them by investing in their professional development. They have been a very effective team guiding the Virgin Islands’ Disaster Management Programme for some time now, and I trust they will continue this going forward,” Mrs. DaBreo-Lettsome said.
According to government, Mr. Penn first joined the Department of Disaster Management in 1999, and has served in various roles in the Department, including as Emergency Communications Manager since 2017.
He holds a Masters Certificate in Development and Public Investment Project Management from the University of Laval, Canada; an Executive Diploma in Management from the Chartered Managers Institute in the United Kingdom; and a Bachelor of Science in Network and Communications Management from DeVry University, where he graduated with honours. Mr. Penn was recognised as an Associate Emergency Manager by the International Association of Emergency Managers and was also the recipient of a Long Service Award from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.
Mr. Penn is the Vice Chairman of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS). He also serves as Vice Chairman for the group’s Tsunami Ready Task Team and is a licenced amateur radio operator holding a general class licence.