PM Skerrit shakes hands with former US President Bill Clinton at a high level conference in New York

A new execution agency, which will operate under the highest level of transparency and accountability, will be formed as Dominica reconstructs in a climate resilient way after the ravages of Hurricane Maria, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said.

Speaking at a CARICOM-UN High-level Pledging Conference in New York this week, the Prime Minister said the agency will be named, CREAD – Climate Resilience Execution Agency of Dominica.

“The mission of the agency will be to coordinate all reconstruction work to avoid duplication, maximise economies of scale, spot and fill critical gaps, avoid bureaucratic infighting and ensure all reconstruction activities are focused on a single Climate Resilient Recovery Plan developed by Dominica and its partners,” he explained.

The Prime Minister said his government sees transparency and proper financial management as extremely important and “CREAD will be required to operate to the highest standards of transparency and financial management as well as accountability and community engagement.”

“In developing CREAD, we sought advice from partners from around the globe and studied various examples. Briefings were held for instance with the CEO of the Indonesian BRR. We are speaking to a couple multilateral agencies on establishing a a multi-donor trust fund. We will have a German-style supervisory board with a majority of donors to oversee assurance. The internal audit function, and any other assurance functions, will report directly to this supervisory board,” he noted.

He said there will be a role for external audits at CREAD.

“There will also be a role for the external audit as it is the intention that the executing agency operates within the highest level of transparency and accountability,” the Prime Minister said. “The agency will own the reconstruction targets and through new powers given to it by parliament, proscribed in scope and time, would have the ability to step in to improve delivery where those targets are slipping. CREAD will be on a continuous emergency footing. New projects will come first to CREAD’s coordination war room. CREAD will ensure they fit into the Climate Resilient Recovery Plan, and there is coordination with and a leveraging of other projects. CREAD and donors will decide where the project is best delivered, whether from line Ministries, a partnership between CREAD and the donor or by CREAD itself. CREAD will centralize scarce procurement skills and would be a one-stop shop for licensing and permitting.”

He stated that a parliamentary oversight will be established to provide oversight of CREAD.

“It is our hope that a parliamentary oversight committee will be established to provide real-time oversight to functioning of the CREAD,” he said. “It is also anticipated that the Chief Executive Officer will be required to report to Parliament on a regular basis.”

Skerrit said the new agency will cost about $3.5-million per year to operate.

“Based on preliminary budgeting, CREAD will cost close to $2.5-million to $3.5-million per annum depending on the degree to which it is playing an implementation role or just a coordination role. We initially require approximately $2-million to start up CREAD before it is involved in a sufficient number of projects to pay for its own running through a small charge on each.”