Skerrit addressing the conference in New York in November 2017

Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has said that there is a long road between pledges made by donors and the actual delivery of those pledges and it is not like magic.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, he said he heard the Leader of the Opposition making reference to pledges made to Dominica at a donor conference in New York after Hurricane Maria but these things take time.

“It is not Abracadabra,” the Prime Minister said, referring to an incantation used in stage magic tricks.

In November 2017, Skerrit attended a High-Level Pledging/Donor Conference at the United Nations Headquarter in New York organized by CARICOM with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to assist hurricane-ravaged member states.

He subsequently said that estimates show that Dominica could receive up to EC$1-billion.

On Wednesday he said the funds will not just appear in the country’s bank accounts since there is a tedious process involved.

“Those of us who understand international financing will recognize that there is a long road between pledges and delivery of those pledges,” Skerrit said. “So it is not that the money has been transmitted and deposited in our bank accounts. It is a process and this process can be tedious and this is why the government suggested and we are pursuing the setting up of an agency that will be responsible for the execution of many of those interventions, assisting us in overcoming some of the procurement requirements, documentation required for this because they make a pledge, you now have to submit documents in accordance with their requirements.”

He gave an example of the process involved.

“There is one donor that has committed some funds for one particular project and as the Minister of Finance, I had to sign eight different documents for this one project including letters to this government,” he explained. “In one case I was even required to submit, as the legal authority, as per the constitution as Minister of Finance, my passport for them to have in their file that this is the person who had signed these agreements.”

He stated that interventions the government has been engaging after Hurricane Maria have been financed by the country’s own resources.

“I would daresay about 95 percent and largely financed by the CBI because there is no tax revenue coming into the country in any significant way,” Skerrit remarked.