Commonwealth of Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

Going out and seeing the devastation and talking and listening to our people I have also felt the incredible, deep, defiant spirit of my fellow countrymen and women.” said Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in his address to the public on Friday, October 6th.

Imploring Dominicans not to “… stoop to panic or fear-mongering” He assured the  listening public that in facing the tremendous feat which lays ahead, the country’s cause is not to fail and expressed confidence that it will not fail.

“We will go forward together… and our united and inflexible resolve, will make us invincible”, he continued.

Skerrit also acknowledged the various international groups and individuals who are on the ground assisting the Government and people of Dominica  saying : “Many of you have gone over and beyond the call of duty, and I personally, want to let you know that this fact is not lost on me.”

His remarks came preceded an update on the  current state of events followed by an outline for a twelve-step plan aiming to move the country forward.

The Prime Minister ended the address by briefly addressing revitalization plans for the agricultural sector as well as outlining plans to meet with the UN secretary General Antonio Guterres over the weekend and IMF and World Ban Officials in the upcoming week to discuss the proposal for establishing Dominica as a prototype for climate resistant infrastructure.

The plan, as outlined by the Prime Minister, is as follows:

1. We will stabilize and support demand in the economy. The Government will try wherever possible to maintain the previous year’s level of government procurement, employment, wages, and routine operations.

2. Insurance of property in Dominica exceeds 100% of our annual GDP. Not all insured properties are totally destroyed thankfully, but we expect substantial insurance payouts to be made over the next few months. We will work with local and international insurance companies and banks to expedite the arrival of loss assessors and the flow of insurance payouts at lower transaction fees.

3. We will accelerate the full re-opening of all ports and ease the flow of goods through ports.

4. We are working with our development partners to bring in the necessary equipment required to take our clearing and cleaning efforts to the next level. Heavy clearing machines are being loaded on to boats to travel to Dominica as we speak.

5. We will waive taxes and duties on the importation of all food and construction materials for six months.

6. This is a time of great national effort and personal sacrifice. We will not tolerate anyone taking unfair advantage of the situation. We will put in place a consumer watch dog in charge of ensuring there is no profiteering and price gouging.

7. We expect businesses, banks and credit unions to expand their services as quickly as possible to help normalize the situation.

8. We will sit down with lending institutions to see to what extent they can extend a period of forbearance for their borrowers.

9. We will enforce and if necessary update building codes to ensure that all new construction complies with these codes. We all know the consequences of not doing so.

10. The process of repair and rebuilding will take time but for many people their current housing situation is difficult beyond belief and so in the mean-time we will be bringing substantial quantities of roofing and temporary shelter.

11. We will facilitate the Social Security Fund offering a voluntary advance of up to $1,000 on non-contributory pension payments. There should be no long-run costs of this measure, but the Government will indemnify the Fund of any costs of doing so.

12. We shall also offer voluntary advances on government salaries of up to $2,000 to help the rehabilitation of homes.

 

See link below for full video.