Dominica PM Thankful For Aid

PORT OF SPAIN (CMC) | Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Saturday night thanked Trinidad and Tobago for the aid sent to his hurricane battered island “saying nothing impacted me more than the image of that long snake of loaded containers making its way to the Port of Spain docks for shipment to Roseau, Dominica”.

Dominica was hit by Hurricane Maria on September 18, killing at least 28 people and leaving billions of dollars in damages. Skerrit, who attended a special “Thanksgiving Mass” at the St Theresa’s RC Church at Bartaria along the eastwest corridor here, said the response from Caribbean countries and the global community to the hurricane had been tremendous.

“The spirit I saw displayed by Trinidadians and other Caribbean nationals in the aftermath of these hurricanes told me the bond that exists between us is much more than geographical . . . . Let’s not be in doubt, my dear brothers and sisters, the Caribbean is one.”

He said he was thankful to the people of Trinidad and Tobago for their efforts, for housing Dominican students studying here and realising that there is no quick fix to the situation in his Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country that was hit by the Category 5 storm. “To date, nothing impacted me more than image of that long snake of loaded containers making its way to the Port of Spain docks for shipment to Roseau, Dominica,” Skerrit said, noting that nothing compared to the spirit of Trinidadians in times of need as it lifted the spirit and souls of his people. Skerrit told the congregation that climate change was real and the Caribbean was on the frontline of the threat, insisting that the region’s response must be united and strong.

He told reporters afterwards that the need for shelter remains a major concern for his administration given that 98 per cent of the housing stock on the island had either been destroyed or partially destroyed. But he said he remained confident that Dominica would survive with its roads being cleared, farmers planting crops and businesses were beginning to open. “We are resilient people. We are not sitting on our hands and worrying about the future. We are working to make the future brighter for ourselves so we are pressing on.”

On Saturday, Greg Rawlins, the representative for the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) said that his organisation was committed to supporting the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector in Dominica as he presented seeds for short-term crops to Skerrit at The Green Market in Santa Cruz, north east of here. Skerrit said that every single seed would be planted on fertile soil as he recognised the importance of agriculture to his country.

Rawlins said that the seeds were donated by local farmers under the initiative “Get Dominica Growing Again”. “We want to help the farmers get back into production to earn an income and start back building their communities,” he said, noting that the seeds included tomatoes, cabbage, beans, pumpkins, bell peppers, beetroot and carrots.