Penville residents got an opportunity to have their concerns regarding community issues heard by Government when a special town hall meeting was held on Wednesday evening.
Parliamentary Representative for that constituency and Prime Minister of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit; Housing and Water Resource Minister, Hon. Reginald Austrie and the village council chairman were the panellists chairing the town hall meeting.
The main items on the agenda were updates on the Penville Water Supply Project and the Penville Road; the status of the housing revolution in Penville and the need for a basketball hard court for the benefit of the area’s youth.
Minister Austrie used the opportunity to remind the Penville community of the advocate they have in their Parliamentary Representative, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit.
One, he says, who is constantly working for his constituents.
“Skerrit means more to you as your Parliamentary Representative than as the Prime Minister because we know villages [whose parliamentary representatives were prime ministers] and they have nothing to talk about today...It seems to me that the Prime Minister is not what matters but what he can do as a representative of the people and Roosevelt Skerrit has demonstrated that as representative of Penville, [a resident] can walk through any part of Dominica and feel proud to be from Penville -Roosevelt Skerrit’s constituency. [Penville residents] can count roads, houses, education, [school] bus service, university graduates as well as the number of civil servants employed by Government. No longer are the numbers of public servants from Penville few and far between.”
Minister Austrie went further to list other benefits that Penville residents can also count from their election of Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit as Parliamentary Representative.
“It takes commitment, drive and it takes a passion for the people you represent that any opportunity you get to make something of them you will do so and I can say that about Hon Roosevelt Skerrit,. He has made every single man woman and child in Penville a proud Dominican.”
“Even the children who are now attending the Portsmouth Secondary School have a reason and a hope. They love attending the Portsmouth Secondary school not just to attend secondary school then plant dasheen and tania for a living but to attend with the hope of becoming something in this country because their Parliamentary Representative has made it possible for them to become something.”
Prime Minister and Parliamentary Representative for the area, Hon. Skerrit told constituents how grateful he is for their support and patience especially with relation to the soon-to-be-rehabilitated Penville Road.
“This month, January marks about 13 years since you have voted me in as your member of parliament and I want to thank for your continued support... and I say so in Cabinet all the time, that the people of Penville have been exceptionally patient and understanding and there has never been any public agitation because of the condition of the road.”
Residents spoke their concerns about the items on the agenda and expressed their appreciation of the representation received from Hon. Skerrit.
Also on the agenda of the Town Hall Meeting was the official handing over of a cheque for the construction of a full-sized basketball court in Penville.
“When I came to church here on Christmas day and I saw the road all marked up. I said there is no way that as Parliamentary Representative of Penville I can allow my young people to continue playing basketball on the main road. We need to solve that problem once and for all. This is why I am here to hand over a cheque to the village council to the tune of $100,000 for the construction of the basketball court.”
“This basketball court once completed will be lighted so young people can be focused on constructive social engagements instead of other distractions which the world throws at them from time to time.”
Hon. Skerrit emphasised that Government is still interested in investing in the island’s young people even in financially difficult times.
The Constituency Representative explained that the source of the funds is the Dominica National Petroleum Company LTD.
According to the Prime Minister, the Dominica National Petroleum Company LTD entered into a joint venture with Venezuela which created Petro Caribe. Accounts were then created at the National Bank of Dominica and with the interest on fuel purchase savings from Venezuela, Government helps communities on the island with training programmes and sporting facilities.
One young man who looks forward to the completion of the basketball court said he is pleased by the move.
“A heartfelt thanks to the Prime Minister for keeping his word. We are so elated that we no longer have to climb down the cliff face to retrieve our ball. We want to say thanks and well-done.”
The one hundred thousand dollar cheque was handed to the chairman of the Penville Village Council.