Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said his government is not ruling out the possibility of a legal battle between Dominica and Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM).
He made that announcement during a special interview on State-Owned Radio DBS on Tuesday evening.
In August 2018 RUSM’s parent company, Adtalem Global, announced that the university was leaving Dominica after 40 years and from January this year, the company started operating in Barbados.
RUSM was located in Portsmouth and was a huge source of income for the island’s second town for the past 40 years.
“We are not ruling this out because we believe that, my view to the government is that we should pursue Ross where compensation is concerned,” he said. “We had a lease agreement with Ross, Ross broke the lease unilaterally and there are several of our citizens who would have invested based on the lease with Ross, specifically to Ross and I believe that we very well may pursue Ross where compensation is concerned.”
Skerrit further stated that his government is in a stronger position to continue engaging partners interested in replacing RUSM.
“Now that we have the full possession of Ross University owned by the people of Dominica it place us in a stronger position to continue engaging those partners who can now come with no hindrances or encumbrances to visit the campus and to inspect for themselves whether that campus is suitable for them to operate as a school,” he said while speaking during a special interview held on State-Owned Radio DBS on Tuesday evening. “But we are very confident that we shall find a replacement to Ross and even maybe a better partner.”
He continued, “Ross took a decision by itself there is nothing that Ross ask the government to do that the government did not do.”
According to Skerrit, as a matter of fact the firm decision by the government was to focus on the campus of Ross, “so we got lights back at Ross before anywhere else, we got water back at Ross first before anywhere else, we got internet connected at Ross before anywhere else, we engaged Ross by indicated to Ross what else do we need to do?”
He mentioned further that some of the buildings that got affected by Hurricane Maria were buildings that were part of the partnership agreement to be replaced with all of the concessions granted to Ross.
“These were not buildings that were built recently that got damaged, these were buildings that had to be replaced anyway, based on the 25 year agreement we had with them,” Skerrit explained. “So there’s nothing the government could have done or Ross asked us to do…”
Meantime, he made it clear that in instances where some of the landlords will need support for bridge financing to ensure that they can hold on to their properties, that the government is minded to providing them with some financing to meet their obligations for a period of time.