Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica Website
Sunday, 22 September 2019

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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,

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.

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.

New Contractual Farming Programme to Commence In Good Hope

Farmers of Good Hope have been assured that new measures and programmes have been set to develop the farming sector in their community.

Hon Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit, has committed to the farmers of Good hope $100,000 to assist with the development of farming as a small business.

The Hon Prime Minister was speaking at a town hall meeting there on Wednesday and pledged a total of $200,000 towards small business development in Good Hope.

Of that amount, he pledged half to the farmers.

“I am committing $200,000 for small business development, but I want $100,00 to go to the farmers of Good Hope to provide you with the support you need to continue to farm, to continue to cultivate and to make a better way of life for your families and for your children.”

The farmers of the that community will also benefit from new contracts negotiated by the Government of Dominica with the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA).

Meantime, farmers of Good Hope will be the first to take advantage of a series of new programmes for farmers which are being launched by Government.

This announcement came from the Hon Parliamentary Representative for Castle Bruce and Minister for Agriculture, Johnson Drigo.

“The first community where we want to enter into yams and potatoes will be with you the farmers of Good Hope,” oHon Drigo explained, “We will be coming back to meet you very early next week and a representative of DEXIA, … will meet you here, we will have the contracts.”

The contracts already secured with DEXIA for the farmers through Government are for the sale of yams, potatoes and cucumbers.

Hon. Drigo assured the farmers that there are numerous incentives for them as part of the upgraded contracts.

“In the agreement, there are incentives; we will provide you with a consignment of fertilizer and some of the Round-Up you will need for clearing…”

The Hon mp, encouraged the farmers who will soon sign unto these contracts to be prepared to honour the agreements in order to consistently supply the established markets.

He explained to farmers that it is more important to secure established markets than to sell the produce otherwise only for a small increase in sale price.

“We expect you to stick to the agreement. One of the things we have had in the past is that we’ve had agreements with some of you and then when somebody pass who is giving 10 cents more you will sell all of the crops and then when DEXIA comes, they cannot get anything for the market it was intended for.

And when you plant for the export market, you may not get the price the huckster is giving you on the pick-up but we expect you to stick with this market because what you need is market for your crop.

He hopes that the contractual programmes will encourage farmers to produce more to sustain the current British market as well as secure lasting relationships with new U.S markets.

For farmers who may be hesitant to sign the contracts with DEXIA , the minister explained there have been upgrades within DEXIA’s system and that selling to DEXIA serves both the farmers and huckster.

The contractual farming programme expected to begin with the Good Hope farmers as of next week will eventually extend across the island. 

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