The United Kingdom (UK) Government, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Dominica will fund two infrastructure projects at a cost of EC$239 million to increase climate resilience in Dominica.
The first is the rehabilitation of 11km of roadway between the Loubiere Bridge and Grand Bay will be financed with grant funding of US$32.9 million (EC$88. 8 million) from the Government of the United Kingdom, a Government of Dominica contribution of US$10.7 million (EC$28.8 million) and a CDB loan of US$5.5 million (EC$14.8) million to cover the construction of the Mitchum Bridge. The total cost of the project is EC$132.4 million.
The second project is the Water Sector Strategic Development Project to improve water supply and distribution infrastructure and upgrade the Jimmit waste water system, at a total cost of EC$106.7 million. Financing for this project comprises a UK Government grant of US$30.3 (EC$81.8 million) and a contribution of US$9.2 million (EC$24.8 million) from the Government of Dominica and DOWASCO.
“It is a major investment to improve communication, to improve access, to enhance safety for the road users between Loubiere and Grandbay and Bagatelle,” Prime Minister Roosevelt said while addressing a press briefing.
He continued, “These monies came to us after the passage of Hurricane Maria and we recognize as a government that our water system was severely exposed to elements and the question is how do we go about building greater resilience in our water system? And so, in the event of a disaster, the restoration could be much faster than otherwise.”
Therefore, according to the Prime Minister, when the British offer came, the government felt that it would not be in their interest to spend it across various sectors but to focus, instead, on one particular sector and the water sector was identified.
The first phase of the Loubiere to Bagatelle Road Project will include construction of 52 culverts and five bridges.
“The procurement process for the road project is underway. Bids are to be submitted by April 26, 2022, and if all goes well, we anticipate an award of contract by June 2022,” Prime Minister Skerrit said.
He went on to state that the contract for the water supply project would be awarded by August 2022, with physical works expected to commence in September 2022.
“The water project will improve sanitation, increase the pipe water supply, and enhance the reliability of water service to populations in Wotten Waven, Trafalgar, Castle Bruce, Morne Jaune, Coulibistrie, Grand Savanne, Salisbury, Calibishie and the Roseau Valley,” Skerrit revealed.
He thanked the UK Government for the generous contribution to Dominica‟s development which he said would help create employment opportunities and bring long-term socio economic benefits to citizens.
Meanwhile, President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon said the Caribbean is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to climate change with a high susceptibility to natural hazards and aging economic infrastructure.
According to him, CDB is aware that enhancing the road and water infrastructure in Dominica is critical for the country’s endeavor to become climate resilient by 2030 and the interventions that, “we are financing in partnership with the UK Government will support the country‟s efforts to achieve that goal.”
“We cannot allow our children to look back and say why didn’t they? And so the call is let’s give it our very best,” Dr. Leon stated. “You have [our] full commitment. CDB is here to be with you, to support you, to work with you, such that tomorrow, in another 50 years, we genuinely will be able to turn back and say we did it.”