Residents of Capuchin will now benefit from an enhanced community centre which will also be used as an emergency shelter.

The official handing over ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

The rehabilitation of this building is a collaboration between the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) and the Government of Canada and is right in line with Government’s vision to make dominica the first climate resilient nation in the world.

Member of Parliament for the Cottage Constituency, Hon. Reginald Austrie says, this project is significant as the Dominica Labour Party Government continues to build resilience in Dominica’s infrastructure.

“Hurricane Maria taught us unless we do this thing properly and we do it right we will be devastated each time, because we really cannot prevent ourselves from being hit by a hurricane. But we are hoping that with our resilient building in terms of our infrastructure our roads, our bridges, our schools, our health centres that we can add some resilience and we can protect ourselves, our societies,  our communities from any such onslaught that may come in the future,” Hon. Austrie stated.

The Member of Parliament spoke of the plans which will be developed to modernize this building to create a safer place for residents in times of disasters.

“The long term vision really is to continue to build on this, and to use this as a hurricane shelter itself. So we are now working on the funding so we can convert the additional space we have downstairs to the hurricane shelter and expand this place as a learning resource centre so in the event of a disaster, our students will not be disadvantaged. They will be able to use their computers, there will be running water, they will have reading books so they will be able to continue their education and I believe this is a really noble idea,” the Pal Rep explained.

The Government of Canada has assisted Dominica in many ways since the passage of Hurricane Maria in 2017. They have assisted with the construction of schools across the island making child friendly schools a priority for students.

The Canadian Government has once again shown its commitment to helping Dominica become climate resilient.

Canadian High Commissioner, Ms. Lilian Chatterjee says, she is happy that her country could assist with the rehabilitation of this shelter.

“I am therefore proud to see how our partnerships with Dominica are producing real tangible results, whether that is through the school reconstruction programme, or through initiatives like this one that helps the community manage in the hours and days immediately after a disaster. As you know too well, it is our friends and neighbours that we must rely on immediately after a disaster; but hopefully this investment in Capuchin will make future events more manageable and will also help you stay in touch with the rest of the country. The principle of friends and neighbours providing support is key to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s approach but in this case it i your CARICOM neighbours who offer that support,” Ms. Chatterjee stated.

The Capuchin community centre will also be used as an emergency operation centre in times of disaster.

Mr. Mandella Christian, who is the Programme Officer at the ODM, explained that the objective of the project was to equip residents of the area with the resources to manage disasters.

“Given the distance from National Emergency Operations Centre, we saw it fit to equip the community to enhance their capabilities and their capacity to manage disasters and to conduct emergency response operations in a coordinated way and also to build resiliency in their operations. So this project had the objective of establishing and Emergency Operations Centre in the north in the Capuchin area and not just establishing it but also equipping it with backup power, backup water and even an emergency communications system,” Mr. Christian noted.

The total cost of the project was over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.