Government of Dominica

New Fire Station for Melville Hall Airport

As part of plans to expand and upgrade the Melville Hall Airport to facilitate night landing, a brand new fire station is currently under construction at the airport to meet international safety standards. The works are expected to be completed in April 2012.

The new state of the art fire station replaces the 20 plus year old fire station that has recently been demolished to facilitate construction of the new building. The new EC$4.4 million fire station will be the most advanced on the island, equipped with a ten thousand gallon water tank, forensic laboratory, conference room, library, gym, living quarters for both male and female fire officers plus two bays for the airport’s fire appliances. The two-floor building will also have a watch tower for fire officers to stay in constant contact with airport officials and emergency personnel as well as a fireman’s pole to allow for quick response to emergency situations.

Following the tenth site meeting of the Melville Hall Airport project, Chief Fire Officer, Josiah Dupuis says this new fire station is expected to be one of the best in the region.

“One of the difficulties that fire departments [in general] face, is a deficiency in training infrastructure, those are critical things…clearly we are getting what will be our best facility on the island, and I have a very strong feeling it will rival some of the other fire stations in the region.”

The Fire Chief says this is a significant development for the Dominica Fire and Ambulance Service, as it takes into consideration the need for safety as well as comfort for the airport’s dedicated fire officers.

“There are new elements in this building that we have not had here in Dominica. When people work and spend a lot of hours on end away from their home, it’s important that you give them a facility that will give them a certain level of comfort that will foster the sort of development that you want, so it means a whole lot to us.” According to Mr Dupuis, a unique feature of this new Melville Hall Airport fire station is the accommodations that are made for both Aviation and Domestic fire fighters.

“The building is meant to serve as a dual fire station. We anticipate that we will be housing Aviation Fire Fighters as well as Domestic Fire Fighters. That is a critical aspect of this particular design. And therefore we should be able to house in excess of forty fire officers at the station, when you take into consideration the shift arrangement for the dual concept.”

The location of the new Melville Hall fire station has been carefully selected to ensure it provides the fire service with the best possible response times to incidents at the airport. In the meantime, fire fighters have been temporarily relocated to new quarters at the northern end of the airport.

Dominica's Cultural Ambassador Will Forever be Remembered: A Tribute to "Jeff Joe"

Dominica has lost a national treasure. A pioneer of Cadence music, Jeff Joseph, more popularly known as ‘Jeff Joe’ has passed on. Long live his legacy. The death of Jeff Joe has sent shock waves across the region; particularly in his home country Dominica and the French West Indies, as well as in the international arena, as far afield as Paris, London, New York and Miami. His passing has dominated headlines in many countries, as family, friends and fans mourn the loss of a man who lived and breathed Cadence-lypso- a new genre of music he helped develop and popularize in the early 1970’s. Unique to Dominica, Cadence-lypso is an up-tempo form of calypso sang mostly in Antillean Creole and French.

Jeff Joe’s passing demands a consideration of his remarkable character, talents and personality that made him the true music legend that he was a dynamic performer. A respected stalwart of Creole music and culture. A true Dominican  Ambassador and cultural icon. Jeff Joe was all of the above, and then some. He died on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at a hospital in Martinique after undergoing multiple surgeries for cardiovascular complications.

He was 57. Born September 24, 1954 in St Joseph, Jeff Joe first rose to fame with Grammacks, a 1970’s musical group in Dominica whose string of hits included " Soucouyant," "Mi Deba" and "Cauchemar." In 1977, the Grammacks Band, of which he was lead vocalist, received the Meritorious Service Award in Dominica for its contribution to preserving and promoting Cadence music.
Grammacks rose to prominence on the world stage in the early 1980s with a Super Bowl performance to their credit and this was the beginning of what was to be a successful musical career for Jeff Joe- the man that we have all grown to love.

He later formed Volt Face and Grammacks New Generation. They headlined the first ever World Creole Music Festival in Dominica in 1997. After many years apart, Grammacks Original has regrouped and in 2009 recorded a new album called “Get Up”.

Jeff Joe dedicated his whole life to music. He has inspired many people in Dominica and the neighboring friend islands by bridging the cultural gap through his music. As a performing artist, Jeff Joe’s cultural impact was incredible. Not only did he connect Dominica with the Caribbean and the rest of the world; he was a cultural revolution. He successfully engaged the young generation in a genre of music they would otherwise have sidelined. He was a role model in their own image that they idolized and emulated.
Jeff Joe was recently named French Ambassador to Dominica and so he spent most of his time promoting the World Creole Music Festival in Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Dominica’s Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit describes Jeff Joe as a true ambassador to Dominica, and said his death has left the country in a state of shock.
“It is of absolute sadness that I learnt of his death. Actually I have been following reports from Martinique with regards to his surgery and we were praying that he would have been able to survive the ordeal of the surgery, but he has succumbed to this illness and I would like on behalf of the Government, myself and of course the entire country to extend condolences to the family, friends and well-wishers of Jeff Joe, who really was a true Dominican icon and someone who loved his country dearly and who always had positive statements about Dominica,” the Prime Minister said.

“He was no doubt synonymous with Dominica in the French countries from Paris to the French departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, local Caledonia and French Guyana. He was no doubt a true ambassador of our country promoting our art form, promoting our country as a whole and really encouraging people to visit Dominica. I believe the entire country is in shock as a result of his death. He is somebody we will miss dearly. He spent his entire lifetime entertaining people, making people happy and it is sad that he had to depart so suddenly.”

Not only was Jeff Joe loved and admired for his musical talent and efforts to preserve the Creole language, he was also respected for his very close relationship with the community in which he was raised. He often mentored a group of young men on the block in an area called ‘The Ghetto’ in St Joseph, where he spent a significant amount of time bonding with the youth. Consequently, a lane in that community (Jeff Joe Lane) has been named in his honor.

Parliamentary Representative for St Joseph and personal friend of Jeff Joe, Hon. Kelver Darroux says he and Jeff had had several discussions with regards to the development of St Joseph. Mr Darroux says the community has lost a great man.

“Jeff Joe has been an icon, a legend and a personal friend of mine and his memory will forever be in our hearts and in the community of St Joseph. The impact that Jeff Joseph had on this community will be a lasting one. I’m hoping that when the history books will be written about St Joseph, and the name Jeff Joseph is mentioned, it will be one that will bring back memories of the music that Grammacks used to play because he was the lead singer of Grammacks, a band that was formed in his own community. But not only that, Jeff Joe was in touch with many people in his community and that’s something that will augur well for the persons whose lives he has touched here in St Joseph.”

Creole fans got to witness Jeff Joe’s last performance before a live audience at this year’s 15th Annual World Creole Music Festival, where he gave a world-class performance that will linger in the memories of many, for years to come.

Jeff Joe is survived by his wife and two children. The Government of Dominica has decided that his efforts as Goodwill Ambassador and specifically as a promoter of the World Creole Music Festival is worthy of recognition, and so he shall be given an Official Funeral service. That day has been declared as a National Day of Mourning on which flags are to be flown at half-mast on all public buildings in Dominica.
Jeff Joe has done his work. He has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape in Dominica. Through his music, he has showcased the best of Dominica’s Creole culture to an international audience and united a wide cross-section of people from the Creole-speaking world. He is gone, but his music will be cherished for forever.
May His Soul Rest In Peace.

Exploration Drilling Officially Commenced in Laudat

Following talks of testing the island’s geo-thermal resources to determine its potential energy value for Dominica and other islands in the region, the Government of Dominica has begun an exploratory drilling exercise in Laudat on Monday. 

Funded in part by the European Union and various French agencies, the Geothermal Project is part of government’s plan to provide a more reliable and affordable source of energy for Dominica, thereby reducing its dependence on crude oil from other countries.

Earlier this year, the Government of Dominica signed a contract with the Icelandic Government for the drilling of three test wells in the Roseau Valley area. In November, heavy equipment and machinery for well-logging and testing arrived on the island to facilitate research during the month of December.

At Monday’s ground-breaking ceremony Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit said this phase of the project is a great milestone for Dominica. He also expressed his thanks to the stakeholders involved including the Organization of American States (OAS), of which Dominica became a member in 1979.

“We are indeed very happy to be at this stage with regards to the geothermal prospects for Dominica. I would like to say special thanks to the OAS who really started with us in the initial studies of the geothermal potential of Dominica; and had it not been for that study we would not have been able to take the process forward, because that was certainly a very important pre-requisite to advancing the project.”

Dominica’s OAS representative, Michael Bejos says his organisation remains a long-term partner and will continue to work with the Ministry of Energy on its solar water heating program. He also says the OAS has given its commitment to helping secure final approval from Cabinet, of Dominica’s National Energy Policy.

The Prime Minister also articulated his gratitude to the French agencies particularly the Regional Council of Guadeloupe. “I also want to single out the Regional Council of Guadeloupe and its leadership in Guadeloupe because they were at the fore-front of the geothermal project. As a matter of fact, at the time it was as if the geothermal potential resided in Guadeloupe rather than in Dominica, because of the passion which President (of the Regional Council of Guadeloupe) Lurel and his staff have shown in respect to this very important project.”
The Dominica leader believes this geothermal project provides a great opportunity for regional co-operation and integration and that Dominica’s resources must be shared with our French neighbours in Martinique and Guadeloupe as well as Antigua and Barbuda.

Special mention was also made of the European Union and Agence Francaise de Développement (AFD), another major sponsor of the geothermal project. The Prime Minister says the AFD has been a loyal partner in Dominica’s development over an extended period of time.

The test drilling, conducted by an Icelandic well-testing company, Iceland GeoSurvey, will determine whether or not geothermal resource in the Roseau Valley is suitable for generating significant volumes of electricity, as well as the feasibility of the proposed underwater transmission to supply the neighbouring French islands.

Government officials present at Monday’s event included MP for the Roseau Valley Constituency, Hon. Dr. Colin McIntyre and Minister responsible for Energy, Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore. Mr Blackmore said this new phase of the geothermal project is testimony that government is serious about bringing this project to a reality. 

“This Labour Party Administration, led by Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit has been able to transform what has been said to be fantasies in the past, to realities. Talk about our potential in geothermal energy has been in the air long before the coming into office of this administration. Again, my dear friends, past administrations were not able to walk the talk. Today we are demonstrating to you that we are walking the talk. [That] would require building partnership and co-operation with states and organizations in order to mobilize the requisite resources and technical competence to take us that point we are now at, in our development as a collective.”

Exploration drilling will take place in three main locations in the Roseau Valley. The first site identified is an area called Pachoute Estate, between Wotten Waven and Trafalgar. The second site is in the vicinity of the Rain Forest Aerial Tram network in Laudat and the third site is located in Laudat near Domlec’s balancing tank.
Hon. Dr. Colin Mc Intyre welcomes the project to the Roseau Valley area and says the government has taken steps to ensure that this exercise will be conducted in an environmentally friendly manner.

In February, an initial Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted to highlight the impact on the environment during and after the drilling exercise, and a geothermal resource group from the United States of America is currently supervising test drilling activities.

Government’s long-term plan is to build a one hundred and twenty megawatt (120 MW) power plant which will have the capacity to provide energy to other islands in the region.

Government Takes Steps to Eradicate Violence

The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Dominica Planned Parenthood Association and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) is currently developing a violence prevention program for Dominica.

This initiative is another of Government’s efforts to educate men and women on how to effectively use strategies to prevent violence, as part of its quest to eradicate all forms of violence within the Dominican society.

The program includes a three- day training workshop focusing on effective approaches that can be adopted to dissuade men and women from engaging in violent activities.

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