The Government of Dominica and the Government of Japan celebrated their forty-first year of bilateral relations with a grand gesture as the Japan Government handed over various pieces of equipment to Dominica.
The donation of equipment and supplies was handed over to the Government of Dominica during a ceremony held on Wednesday, and included loaders, chainsaws, dump trucks, command vehicles and compactor trucks.
This gesture was made to assist Dominica in its goal to become the first climate resilient nation in the world.
For the newly appointed Japanese Ambassador to Dominica, His Excellency Tatsuo Hirayama, this was a proud moment and he was filled with joy as this donation was his first order of business in Dominica.
The Ambassador says the equipment will contribute to Dominica’s preparedness to natural disasters. He urged those using the vehicles to take special care of the equipment.
“I am convinced that the equipment procured and the assistance of our Government will contribute to better preparedness and resilience of this country to natural disasters. It is in everyone’s best interest that this equipment be properly utilized and kept well maintained. First and foremost, the community will be able to feel safe and secure in the case of possible disasters. Additionally, when the Government of Japan observes optimal care in the use of the equipment, this will demonstrate that our assistance bears tangible fruit in and efficient and effective manner,” the Ambassador stated.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Affairs, Honourable Francine Baron, says japan has always assisted Dominica especially in the fishing sector.
“Over these past years, Dominica and Japan relations have had particular focus on the fisheries sector and its overall operations and management. We have seen the construction, among other things, of the Roseau and Marigot Fisheries Complex both of which suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Maria. We are indeed pleased Ambassador that your Government has agreed to assist us with the rehabilitation and equipping of these facilities, and that we will sign on to the grant agreement the amount of approximately twenty seven million EC dollars and we are deeply grateful for the generosity of the Japanese Government,” Honourable Baron stated.
The Japanese Government has also assisted Dominica in the form of training for those involved in the fisheries sector, which will enable them to further themselves and bring economic development to Dominica.
“We have had the opportunity to participate in many training programs which has helped to build capacity in a number of areas including in the fisheries sector, training in waste management and disaster management and response. And of course, we know that we in Dominica are vulnerable to natural disasters. Japan is equally vulnerable to those events as well and we hope and pray that Typhoon 19 will not cause too much damage to your people and that it will not result in the loss of life. And so we stand in solidarity with you, knowing how traumatic these experiences can be. The Government of Japan has also facilitated the development and expansion of Dominica’s Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) Programme,” Minister Baron went on to say.
Following the passage of Tropical Storm Erika and hurricane Maria, Japan’s contribution to Dominica totalled over nine million EC dollars.
“Over the past four years, in response to Tropical Storm Erika and Hurricane Maria the Government of Japan has provided to the Government and people of the Commonwealth of Dominica equipment and supplies valued in excess of nine million EC dollars. The equipment and supplies have helped to build resilience and improve the efficiency of critical first response agencies. Many of the equipment and supplies are already in use and are contributing in a tangible way to the country’s recovery and reconstruction,” the Foreign Minister noted.
The beneficiary agencies of the equipment and supplies are the Ministry of Public Works and Ports, the Fire and Ambulance Services, the Office of Disaster Management and the Solid Waste Management Cooperation.
Later that day, Dominica received additional assistance from the Government of Japan as twenty-seven million EC dollars were made available for the reconstruction of the Marigot and Roseau Fisheries Complexes.
Notes of agreements were signed between the Government of Dominica and the Government of Japan during a ceremony at the Ministry of Finance conference room.
This was a commitment made by the Government of Japan to the people of Dominica after the passage of Hurricane Maria in 2017, as the storm completely destroyed these buildings.
Prime Minister, Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, thanked Japan for it’s outpouring of assistance following the most deadliest storms in Dominica’s history, tropical storm Erika and Hurricane Maria.
“We are grateful for the solidarity that has been demonstrated to us by the Government of Japan. The response to Dominica, particularly following Tropical Storm Erika and Hurricane Maria, was immediate and extremely helpful to us in our relief and recovery efforts. Your commitment to assist Dominica in responding to natural disasters and to support economic and social development under the Non-Profit Grant Aid Project has been very beneficial to our people,” Prime Minister Skerrit stated.
Japan is currently being threatened by Typhoon 19 and they too are vulnerable to natural disasters.
Honourable Skerrit stated that he hopes that all will be well and the country will be spared.
“Excellency, while Japan is by no means a small island state you face similar challenges as we do, in that you are equally vulnerable to natural disasters having suffered from the devastating effects of typhoons, tsunamis and floods. We have had the opportunity to benefit over the years from technical assistance, disaster risk management and response and the development of capacity in other areas such as effective waste management and fisheries development. It is my understanding that Japan is now being threatened by Typhoon 19, and having recently experienced the devastating effect of a Category 5 storm ourselves, and witnessing the damage done to the islands of the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian we can only hope and pray that Japan will be spared from the disaster and any possible loss of life,” the Prime Minister added.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Honourable Reginald Austrie informed that this donation will help with the development of the fisheries sector and better the livelihood of all involved.
“This day brings joy and confidence to the fishing sector. Joy, because this is an intervention in the development of the fisheries sector contributing to sustainable livelihoods and building back better facilities that are more resilient as well as to provide greater services our people. The Roseau fish landing site was one of the most active landing sites before hurricane Maria with an annual fish landing of about 200,000 pounds of fish. This facility also served as a market for daily catches with a well-managed fish storage area and crushed ice production as well as offices from which the fisheries department provided management to the fisheries sector,” Honourable Austrie stated.
Dominica and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1978.