The People’s Republic of China is delivering on its promise to assist Dominica to rehabilitate the west coast road.
The US$100M China-funded, west coast road or E O LeBlanc Highway, a pillar project between the PRC and Dominica was officially opened in April 2012; however heavy rains and massive flooding due to tropical storm Ericka compromised parts of the structure.
Following Tropical Storm Erika, the People’s Republic of China offered to fully rehabilitate the road and the Chinese government expedited the approval of this project and commencement letters were signed in July 2016.
On Thursday, two agreements were signed: the economic and technical cooperation agreement between the government of the PRC and the government of Dominica which provides for grant aid in the amount of approximately US$21M for rehabilitation of the west coast road.
The second agreement signed was the implementation agreement for the China-aided west coast road post-Erika rehabilitation project. This agreement was signed between government of Dominica and the Ministry of Commerce of China and gives effect to the economic cooperation agreement and provides the detailed work to be undertaken by both parties in the west coast rehabilitation project.
The Hon Prime Minister expressed gratitude for China’s generous and speedy response to Dominica.
The Hon Prime Minister says the road is important to the economic development of the country.
“The reconstruction of the west coast road is critical to our country and to the commercial efforts in Dominica. The Roseau to Portsmouth road is one of the most traversed roads in the country and it experienced tremendous damage during the storm…the Chinese, not waiting for us to ask for assistance, offered their assistance to reconstruct the west coast road. If we are not to receive this assistance through a form of grant then the only other option which is left to the government is to borrow the money.”
He says notwithstanding its challenges, the People’s Republic of China lives up to its international responsibility in assisting Small Island Developing States like Dominica.
The rehabilitation of the road will take into consideration Government’s build back better policy and Hon Skerrit says he is satisfied that the rehabilitated road will be able to withstand adverse climatic conditions.
Work will include replacement of bridges, repairs to damaged sections of the road surface, rehabilitation of culvert crossings and drainage infrastructure and some slope stabilization. Replacement of traffic signs, road markings and reflective road studs will also be included.
Ambassador of the PRC to Dominica, H. E. Lu Kun says more than just building roads the project signifies the strengthening of friendship between the two countries.
“With the support of your Hon Prime Minister and the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, the friendly relations of cooperation between our two countries will be further consolidated.”
He reiterated China’s continued support to Dominica’s economic development and pledged as ambassador to exert his best efforts to strengthen this relationship.