Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica Website
Saturday, 19 October 2019

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PM SKERRIT SAYS DOMINICANS WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR THEIR RESILIENCE POST HURRICANE MARIA

Dominicans will be remembered for their relentless efforts to rebuild the country following the utter devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

That is according to Prime Minister of Dominica, Honorable Roosevelt Skerrit who was addressing the nation at a thanksgiving concert, dubbed ‘And Can It Be’ held last Thursday at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium.

During his address, the nation’s leader stated that the development that has taken place since the passage of Hurricane Maria is inspiring.

“Indeed ladies and gentlemen, history has already began to record this country’s response to Hurricane Maria. Already today, when people speak of Hurricane Maria they are speak in awe of Dominica, of what this country, this population, this Government, with the support of our friends far and wide have done I very little time to build back better from that night of terror destruction and despair. Maria forced us to rebuild, and to build back better,” the Prime Minister stated.  

He went on note that it will take the support of all nationals to continue to rebuild a stronger more resilient nation.

“Together, all Dominicans must now prepare for the next phase of our national development, a stronger, more resilient, more developed, more dynamic Dominica. When I say all Dominicans. I mean all Dominicans, those at home and abroad, and those of every political persuasion. This country belongs to all of us, to each and every one of us, and it is our duty and our responsibility to give Dominica our very best,” he further added.

 

FIRST PHASE OF NEW DOMINICA CHINA FRIENDSHIP HOSPITAL OFFICIALLY OPENED

 

      Prime Minister Skerrit and Mrs. Skerrit cuts ribbon at opening ceremony

 

The first phase of the Dominica China Friendship Hospital was officially opened on Friday September 6th, 2019.

Prime Minister Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit and his wife Melissa Skerrit cut the ribbon to formally the commencement of services at the new state-of-the-art, over 40 million US dollar health facility.

Friday’s ceremony was also attended by President of Dominica His Excellency Charles Savarin and Mrs. Savarin, Speaker of the House of Assembly Honourable Alix Boyd Knight, Members of Cabinet, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Dominica His Excellency Lu Kun, and other Members of Parliament.

Prime Minister Skerrit stated that the new national hospital is a part of a national development thrust initiated and developed by the ruling DLP administration.

“When we couple this achievement with the soon to be completed hotels and housing complexes, Dominicans here and abroad will be bale to boast of having the best hotels, public housing, and public health care in the entire English-speaking Caribbean,” the Prime Minister stated. 

                           Front view of completed structure 

 

Prime Minister Skerrit assured nationals that the new facility is a state-of-the-art modern facility.

“What you see now and will soon see when the other phases of construction are completed is a hospital that was meticulously designed to meet our foreseeable needs,” Prime Minister Skerrit stated.

The  Dominica China Friendship Hospital is expected to bring much relief to residents and citizens of Dominica.

“The hassle and expense of having no choice but to leave these shores to access some forms of medical interventions will be a thing of the past. Because there are many citizens in this country who do not have the means of accessing medical care overseas and with this facility, you will have the ability to access it right here in Dominica,” Prime Minister Skerrit noted.

The ground breaking ceremony for the project was held on August 8 2016, followed by the official commencement of work in October of that same year. The project was constructed on the site of the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Honourable Skerrit used the opportunity to highlight some aspects of the first phase of the new facility.

“The new Accident and Emergency building is a state-of-the-art facility in which there is one operating theatre, fourteen observation beds, four doctors’ clinics, two isolation rooms and a crash resuscitation room among many other modern amenities and services. Right beside it, is an ultra-modern three floor medical technology wing, that will be home to the imaging department on the first floor, with a new blood bank and a fully equipped lab facility on the second floor. On the third floor, Dominicans will gain access to the largest dialysis unit this country has ever had, as well as new diagnostic department and ambulatory day care unit,” he explained.

Minister for the Environment, Climate Resilience, Disaster Management and Urban Renewal Honourable Joseph Isaac stated that the opening of the new national hospital is testament of the commitment of the Honourable Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to the island’s health system and the friendship of the People’s Republic of China.

“Let us not take these things for granted and let us not take the fact that we are blessed with a once in a generation leader like Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit who is engineering the socio-economic transformation that we are now part of in this country. We are celebrating the opening of the best public hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean because of his vision and his ability to deliver to we the people. Without our Prime Minister’s ability to see the bigger picture, this country would never have forged a friendship with the People’s Republic of China,” Minister Isaac stated.

The facility will be completed in seven phases, with the second phase already started.

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China His Excellency Lu Kun described the new hospital as a first-class facility.

“We want to build this new hospital as a first-class hospital. We want to give it first-class equipment and machines. These instruments and equipment are the most sophisticated at the same level as in China. We also wanted first-class management, just like proposed by Dr. Skerrit. We wanted professional management in the hospital. After the completion of the new hospital, patients from other islands will be coming to Dominica,” Ambassador Lu Kun stated,

Prime Minister To Meet With Marigot Village Council and Engage in a Number of Interventions

The Hon Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Housing and Lands, Dr Roosevelt Skerrit has disclosed his intention to meet one on one with Marigot village council to discuss issues of concern in that community.

Hon Skerrit made this announcement during the first debate at this week’s seating of Parliament.

“They wrote asking to see me on matters relating to the development of Marigot and I gladly accepted their request to meet with me,” he divulged.

The nation’s leader lamented that the Marigot constituency which is filled with talented and progressive individuals has over the years lacked the proper leadership to harness those skills and bring progress to the constituency. The Marigot constituency is represented in Parliament by Leader of the Opposition, Lennox Linton.

Hon Skerrit outlined several interventions to take place in that part of the island over the next week.

 

Fifty More People to be added to the National Employment Programme

The people of Marigot have expressed an interest to have even more persons engaged under the National Employment Programme. The programme which was established to reduce the rate of unemployment particularly among the youth has to date engaged more than one thousand individuals across the country.

“This week the NEP office is going to be meeting with people in Marigot because there are additional people who would like to be part of the NEP, especially with clean-up and beautification. I have told the office that I am prepared as the Minister of Finance to give up about fifty spaces for the residents of Marigot,” the Prime Minister informed the House.

The programme, which has changed the lives of many Dominicans has several components including clean- up and beautification of communities, job placement with the private sector and the public sector in areas such as education and health services.

 

Small Business Unit to bring its Services to Marigot Next Week

Those who are self-employed or have initiatives waiting to get off the ground in the Marigot constituency will have the opportunity, next week, to put their ideas on paper and possibly receive funding to commence their projects.

The Hon Prime Minister and Minister for Finance informed that upon his instruction the Small business Unit will be in Marigot next week receive applications for small business ideas there.

“Next week I am sending the small business unit to Marigot because there are a lot of progressive young people in Marigot. We will be sending the small business unit there to meet with the people of Marigot and to receive from them proposals with a view to providing them direct support.”

The Hon Prime Minister expressed his commitment to keeping to his word to the village council and said he looks forward with eagerness to the meeting with them.

GOVERNMENT TO INVEST $1.3 MILLION IN RESTORATION OF CULTURAL CENTERS

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The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has commenced construction, restoration and rehabilitation works at the Arawak House of Culture and the Old Mill Cultural Center.

The Arawak House of Culture, one of the main locations for the hosting of cultural events was severely impacted by Hurricane Maria. The extensive rehabilitation project valued at over $900,000 will include complete rehabilitation of the external and internal structures of the roof, stage, seating, flooring, foyer, and air conditioning. The project will also include installation of a new sound and lighting system and artistic indoor and outdoor décor. 

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In keeping with the Ministry’s vision to develop Heritage Tourism and support of the Arts, the Old Mill Cultural Center is also being upgraded. The Old Mill Project valued at $600,000 includes construction of a permanent stage, restoration of Historic features of the property including chimneys, furnaces, mills and ruins, and installation of interpretation signage.

Chief Cultural officer Raymond Lawrence says he is excited for the commencement of these projects as both these structures are of great importance to Dominica’s culture.

“I’m very, very grateful because Old Mill and Arawak are very important cultural institutions, I would say, like the stadium is to sports, that’s how the Arawak and the Old Mill are for Cultural development in Dominica.”

The Projects are geared at providing support for Arts and Culture and to promote Heritage and Cultural Tourism in Dominica and are expected to be completed by May 2019 to accommodate the DOMFESTA Celebrations. 

Housing Minister Says Government Soon To Focus On Resettling Campbell

The Hon Minister for Housing, Reginald Austrie has indicated that moving forward, Government will focus its attention on relocating the entire community of Campbell.

Following Tropical Storm Erika, an assessment conducted by the United Nations Development Programme concluded that nine communities, at varying degrees, are vulnerable to natural disasters. These communities are Paradise Valley, Bath Estate, Dubique, Petite Savanne, Campbell, Coulibistrie, Pichelin, Petite Soufriere, Good Hope and San Sauver.

Thirty-eight families of Dubique have been relocated to Center, Grand Bay while Government is working on relocating another two hundred and eighty-three families of Petite Savanne.

Hon Austrie says now that relocation of these two communities are well underway Government is now refocusing its attention to the community of Campbell.

“We have already begun the process of identifying to deal with Campbell because eventually the entire Campbell community will have to be relocated.  I cannot tell you whether it’s tomorrow morning, I cannot tell you if it’s next week, next month or next year but those of you who know Campbell and based on recent events in Campbell, the entire Campbell community will have to be relocated.”

Five hundred and twenty-one homes were destroyed by Tropical Storm Erika – a total of 146 million dollars’ worth of damage.  Government will spend $124 million dollars to resettle Petite Savanne while $12.8 million was spent to resettle Dubique.

As part of its build back better concept, Hon Austrie says Government is taking a phased approach to resettling Campbell.

He Austrie lauded the efforts of Government for raising the necessary finances to resettle these communities.  The Housing Minister says this is a major undertaking by Government and indicated that this project is a national effort.

Hon Austrie was speaking at a contract signing ceremony for infrastructural work in Plat Ma Pierre last week.

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