Earl George is president of NAFCOOP

A consultation organized by the National Association of Fisherfolk Cooperative Societies Ltd (NAFCOOP) is ongoing in Dominica to chart the way forward for the betterment of the fisheries and cooperative sectors.

The consultation which is being held under the theme: “Fishing-The Way Forward After Maria” is taking place at the Prevo Cinemall.

“This consultation represents our determination to show that we as an organization are prepared to set the pace and draw up a pathway to make the state of the fisheries and cooperative sectors better,” President of NAFCOOP, Earl George said while addressing the opening ceremony of the consultation.

According to him, today marks a milestone in the history of the fisheries sector whereby the nation can see that the fisheries sector is alive.

“As fishers, we are here to show that we can and do contribute to the advancement of this nation,” he stated.

George said this is not something which will be achieved singlehandedly, it will call for the collective effort of all, including the government and various agencies as well as the private sector.

“This consultation is an indication that we are not going to wait for others to come to us to do it or to tell us what to do,” he remarked. “We are sending the message that we are taking matters into our own hands and are chattering our future…”

Meantime, Rennick Toussaint Representative of the Fisheries Division believes this consultation is necessary and very timely to access, review and plan for the future Post-Maria.

Rennick Toussaint

“Maria has taught us that we can’t do it alone,” he said.

He pointed out that to move the fishing industry in Dominica forward “we must work collaboratively and in a spirit of unionism.”

“The cooperatives values of honesty, unity, social responsibility and caring for others must now be inculcated in our daily lives, bearing in mind that we cannot do it alone,” Toussaint noted.

Toussaint revealed that the Cooperative Division over the years have been mandated to promote, develop, supervise the Cooperative Sector and after Post-Maria and, “we saw the devastation the department went around and did what we call a damage assessment of all the cooperatives on the island and generally the majority of our cooperatives are fisherfolk and agriculture.”

“What we noticed that the majority of our cooperatives were hit severely by Maria,” he stated. “This report was submitted and we worked with a number of agencies to see where we can get funds.”

Toussaint indicated that this process is ongoing.

“We must all be determined to work harder and smarter to build a stronger and more resilient fishing industry,” he stated.

The Facilitator of the consultation is Nigel Lawrence.