Dominica Private Sector holds great potential in a challenged Caribbean says development specialist

Dohnert spoke at a consultation on Wednesday

Private Sector Development Lead Specialist and Executive Director of Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility, Sylvia Dohnert, has described Dominica’s private sector as one with “great potential” but there are a few challenges that the Caribbean as a whole must overcome in order to see that potential manifest.

Compete Caribbean is a private sector development program that provides technical assistance grants and investment funding to support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) development activities in the Caribbean region.

Dohnert, in her opening remarks at Invest Dominica’s stakeholder meeting on Wednesday August 16th at the Fort Young Hotel, said that in keeping with the line of duty of Compete Caribbean, one of the main reasons why the company came to Dominica is to seek to maximize on the potential growth of the private sector through innovation.

“Three days to be here, to meet with a number of counterparts. We have this meeting with you here this morning to try to see what are the kinds of catalytic projects that Compete could form that would be real game changers for Dominica,” she said.

Dohnert outlined a few challenges that the Caribbean is currently facing that pose as hindrances to private sector growth including; weak linkages between firms; market and firms tend to be smaller; scarcity of specialized technicians and engineers, and weak market incentives to overcome obstacles which in her analysis showed the Caribbean to be “falling behind” compared to other small economies around the world.

However, she said, to combat these challenges, innovation is key to driving productivity within the private sector to a higher level of efficiency.

“We are interested in innovation because it turns out that innovation is the main driver of productivity growth. When we talk about innovation, we are not talking about invention. This is not inventing a rocket to go the moon…it is a lot of adopting new processes, making organisational changes, becoming a lot more efficient with the inputs that you produce,” she remarked.

Meanwhile, Minister for Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business Development, Roslyn Paul, stated that Dominica is journeying to ensure that competitiveness is improved while noting the critical importance of innovation towards the development of enterprise and industry.

“We are on the journey to ensure that we improve our competitiveness as small island developing states and innovation is very critical as well to the development of enterprise and industry. So we cannot overemphasize the significance of the work that we are trying to do together,” she said.

She highlighted the importance of the stakeholders meeting as the different partners can bring to the table new ideas, build alliances through networking and share and learn best practices.

She stressed that working together as a small developing state is important if Dominica is to combat its “unique” challenged.

“While we are a small developing state, our challenges are unique, but if we work together, if we continue to from the best practices of others, if we continue to network, if we continue to put systems in place to overcome our challenged together, I think we are already on the right path,” Paul stated.

She noted that through continued partnership with Compete Caribbean, she is sure that small island developing states such as Dominica can surely compete with other economies on a higher level.

Paul remarked that the government has placed “on the front burner” the development of the private sector hence their continued support of various productive sectors not only through policies and concessions, but also through access to finance.

Compete Caribbean seeks to stimulate new growth in the Caribbean by focusing on private sector development and innovation and is supported by the Inter-American Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (UKAID).

Some who attended the consultation



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  1. August 17, 2017

    How many visits from development NGOs and meetings at Fort Young does it take to get across the idea that the best way to spur development is for government (regardless of who is running it) to just get out of the way?

  2. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    August 17, 2017

    When the government implements the Citizenship by Investment Program or CBI and places this program in the hands of a few cronies like “Duncan Stowe, Sam Raphael and others” who have become overnight millionaires travel the world like fools and builds mansion after mansion, Dominica’s future is essentially dead! When the leader of your nation purchases lands as agricultural plots, thereby deliberately undervaluing the price of the land and the taxes to be paid to the national treasury, you’re in trouble. When the Minister of lands travels via private jet costing US$10,000.00 an hour to operate while his constituents remain impoverished you have issues. When Ministers of Government hand out monies to their supporters to sit by the road side and drink rum instead of fostering small businesses that employ people, you’re in trouble as a nation.

  3. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    August 17, 2017

    The lack of engineering and technical expertise is self-evident. I give you Douglas Charles Airport as a shining example where $110,000,000.00 was initially spent a few years ago for upgrades. An additional $70,000,000.00 was subsequently spent after heavy rains damaged the airport, because engineers rerouted the Marigot River. I’ve lost count of how many millions was wasted on geothermal energy. Keep in mind the government started with a $50,000,000.00 investment with this venture. To date, the return on this investment is a net “Zero.” We can’t ignore the most draconian electricity rates in the Eastern Caribbean compared to our neighbors, which serves as a deterrent to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). You can’t have this conversation with the Red Supporters, because they will do anything for a few sheets of plywood, galvanize, cement blocks and free homes.

    • anonymous2
      August 19, 2017

      I wonder if she truly understands the Caribbean. It is a hard nut to crack.

  4. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    August 17, 2017

    When a small population with limited income and limited opportunity for growth is forced to pay draconian customs import duties, in addition to outrageous taxation, coupled with constant rises in departure taxes, Value Added Taxes (VAT) poor allocation of resources, inept governance with a poor fiduciary responsibility to its citizens, the nation will in earnest continue to suffer economically. I cannot point to one policy in Dominica, that’s in line with Ms. Dohnert’s vision and observations.

  5. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    August 17, 2017

    I can say with 100% conviction that her vision will never come to pass in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Not now and not ever. Let me sum up Dominica’s mind set in a few words. A small cadre of Dominicans control the entire country lock, stock and barrel. When narrow-minded business men like Mac Marie and his buddy Gregor Nassief equivocally champions the idea of never building an international airport to accommodate larger aircraft, facilitate ease of travel and a more robust tourism sector, Dominica’s future is essentially dead on arrival!

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      August 17, 2017

      “Mac Marie?”

      If you are referring to Mark Marie from the village of Wesley, it is indeed surprising for me to learn that he would be against the building of an International Airport; then again one never know the reason behind such mentality.

      In the case of Gregor Nassif, there is nothing surprising, since his kind still maintains his Dominica bourgeoisie status. Had it not for people of his kind Dominica would be a far better off place.

      As long as Fort Young Guess House exists no International Hotel Chain are suppose to invest in Dominica because it is all about Fort Young: “de foreigner will get all de money; Fort Young doh getting any!”

      I do not know how anybody with commonsense could ever believe that there can be a successful tourist industry in Dominica without an International Airport. Such thinking, and mentality is unequivocally nonsensical. Mark boy if you are the Wesley Kid like me, I think you might have become an obstructionist in the way of development…

    • Gary
      August 18, 2017

      Before you sum up Dominica’s mind set, why don’t you start with your self and examining the nonsense you have written. Why make your imagination and assumptions run the show. A mind set and mentality like yours cannot be cannot move Dominica forward.

  6. August 17, 2017

    Compete caribbean, should be a by product of true caribbean integration, presently caribbean nationals seems unwelcomed and in most cases treated indifferently when visiting other islands, certain walls needs to be broken, for this concept to be viable.

  7. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    August 16, 2017

    “Sylvia Dohnert, has described Dominica’s private sector as one with “great potential” but there are a few challenges that the Caribbean as a whole must overcome in order to see that potential manifes”

    Hogwash, rubbish talk; trivial words with absolutely no significant mean, where it pertains to Dominica. The rest of the Caribbean problem should not be an obstacle in the way of development in our country. It would appear as if you are insinuating that as long as there are problems in the rest of the Caribbean to overcome, there can’t be any progress in Dominica.

    That is hogwash mentality; and an insult to the more intelligent Dominican! It is easy to talk about potential, but one must remember if a Bolder sits on the top of a mountain with all it potential, it will never be realized until someone roles the boulder of the top of the mountain.

    Hence, we see the potential between two points: A and B; thus the potential difference would = A/B. As long as the bolder remains…

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      August 16, 2017


      Hence, we see the potential between two points: A and B; thus the potential difference would = A/B. As long as the bolder remains unmoved no energy can be produced!

      And here is an example in and electrical situation Potential difference = work (W)
      : or voltage, V Charge (q)
      Hence V=W/q, when we talk potential to the common mind that means nothing except sweet babbling words!

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      August 17, 2017

      Let me see if I can make this understandable:

      Potential difference between two points is a measure of the work per unit charge required to move a weight, charge or energy from one point to another.

      Thus we arrive at potential difference = work (W) divided by weight or charge. Thus we would have work (W)/ weight or charge (q)
      Hence we arrived at P = W/q. As long as the bolder remain sitting nothing happens, it is dead: once rolled off the mountain we discover its true potential by the damage it cause wherever it falls.

      Dominica shall forever be counted as a place with lots of potential; nevertheless, unless the native do something to unleash our economic potential the country shall remain a sleeping giant!(The late Paul Southwell).

  8. Roger Burnett
    August 16, 2017

    “…scarcity of specialized technicians and engineers…”

    This is a message – with the addition of the word “practical” – that I’ve been trying to get across for the last thirteen years!

    If we had worked on full apprenticeships in mechanical engineering, instead of paper qualifications, we’d have been getting somewhere.

    I did offer!

    • Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
      August 17, 2017

      Roger that’s my point exactly. We do not have systems in place to train individuals and encourage innovation. You can’t even have basic conversations with ordinary people and you definitely cant implement apprenticeships either.

    • Titiwi
      August 17, 2017

      We did have this Roger, at a facility called the Dupigny College but in his indefinite wisdom the then Minister of Education amalgamated it with the DSC in 2002. The results are obvious. How many certified artisan-craftsmen has the college produced since then?

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