The Government of Dominica continues to invest heavily in the development of the Salybia constituency and its residents.
One of sectors seeing these investments is the agricultural sector, as a plant nursery has been established in the Concord Valley to assist farmers from the surrounding area.
Parliamentary Representative for the Salybia Constituency, and Minister for Environment, Rural Modernization and Kalinago Upliftment, Honourable Cozier Frederick stated that the intention of the Government was to make plant material available to farmers following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria to farms in 2017.
“As we continue to grow the country and ensure the longevity of the farming and the Agriculture enterprise, we want to ensure that we have these plants available and accessible to farmers and people on general who want to propagate plants, so that we can have some food security. What is most interesting about this valley is that for a very long time it has been in has been disrepute. It is one that has demarcated all of the Kalinago Territory, but the Kalinago people have embraced that space and we are seeing a number of developments” Honourable Frederick stated.
The Minister went on to say that though the plants are still limited, he remains hopeful that more plants will be propagated and readily available to the farmers in the next couple of weeks.
Plants propagated at the nursery include avocado, citrus, vetiveh as well as other plants which are endemic to the area.
Team leader of the tuna plant nursery and Kalinago Councilor with responsibility for Agriculture, Mr. Anthony Lucien noted that he is elated to be a part of this project.
“It will not just serve the Kalinago Territory but it will serve the entire North Eastern District by extension. It is our strongest agricultural built on island and I am proud that we will continue to put our agriculture back on stream,” Mr. Lucien added.
The nursery is one of eight across the island and is a national project implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Rural Modernization and Kalinago Upliftment.
The Kalinago Territory is also on stream to become the first area in Dominica to develop an Agricultural Research Center. The center will transition from the provision of plants to famers to providing research and study of agricultural products within the constituency.
The centre will move from the provision of plants to farmers to provide research and study for agricultural products within the constituency.
Minister Frederick explained that this would be the key realization that farming and agriculture is more than the digging of soil.
“We have already surveyed the area. We are working collaboration with CREAD and with Public Works. We have partner also with the Indian Government to ensure that we have all of the relevant procedures in place. We have also taken into consideration all of the trappings that would ensure that this becomes a successful enterprise,” Honourable Frederick stated.
Minister Frederick explained that the first phase will include the rehabilitation of the road access leading to the centre. He added that he is hopeful that plans will be finalized by the end of 2021 and the three year project will be ruled out in the next two years.
A multi-purpose regional emergency shelter will also be constructed in the Kalinago Territory.
“What we hope to have in the multi-purpose center is a collective of offices which will house the Parliamentary Representative, the Ministry of Kalinago Upliftment, the Kalinago Council and its councilors. It will also provide a post office space and also a small administrative space for the Hamlet Development Committee. It’s going to be a very interactive structure. We are envisioning something that will reflect the Kalinago heritage and culture. We have studied the vernacular architecture of the Kalinago Territory, the different designs and we will inculcate it into something, that when a visitor comes in it is more than just an office space, more than just an emergency shelter, but one that kind encapsulate what is truly Kalinago and that we can continue to progressively display our Kalinago Territory,” Minister Frederick explained.
The MP for the Salybia Constituency added that the building will be an interactive one and encouraged residents to embrace the project. He noted that the intention is to involve local skilled men in the construction of this project.
The Government will partner with the Caribbean Development Bank for this project. The initial construction phases are expected to begin during the next financial year.
The Government of Dominica also continues to make significant investments in the housing sector in the Salybia Constituency.
The Government has partnered with PRECONCO Limited to construct homes and improve the lives of residents in the Kalinago Territory and other parts of the constituency.
The Member of Parliament stated that this new housing initiative is different from the housing scheme. The MP explained that the constituency has stray away from the housing scheme blue print as it better benefit residents who prefer to occupy their personal space.
“We realized that people have their own land space that they traditionally use, they have their flower gardens, their agricultural plots, and they were more comfortable in their own space. So we were able to prepare the land; which cost a bit of money, a bit more than the first model, land to ensure that our people can have a resilient home in their own space. It’s a graduation from the housing scheme and we have a number of these spread across the Kalinago Territory,” Hon Frederick explained.
Seventy two years old, Margaret Seraphin, who is a recipient of one of these homes noted that after twenty years of living in hardship with her bedridden husband, she is grateful to the Government for providing her with a new home.
The Seraphin’s were both farmers before the husband fell ill and became bed ridden. The couple saw more hardship after Hurricane Maria destroyed their home and their farm in its wake.
“I have to give thanks to the Government for helping me and my husband. I must say thank you for the new house. It’s not yet finish but once this Government is alive it will come through, so thanks to the Government,” Seraphin stated.
By June of 2021, over fifty PRE-CONCO homes will be completed in the Kalinago Territory. These homes are being constructed to withstand hurricane force winds and seismic activity.