The Government of Dominica has signed an Economic and Technical Agreement with the Government of the People’s Republic of China amounting to EC$120 million in order to further develop the country.
The fund is expected to go towards the development of agriculture, education, health, and national security.
The agreement was signed between Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Dominica, His Excellency Lu Kun at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance conference room on Monday.
“This EC$120-million, some of it will be used to construct the agricultural complex in Portsmouth which will bring to Dominica a new thinking in agriculture, a more technologically based agriculture which at the end of the day will increase production and productivity on the farms and thereby increasing the investment returns for farmers, and increasing our possibilities and opportunities for gaining more foreign exchange for agricultural produce,” Skerrit said while addressing a press conference, during which the agreement was signed.
He said the facility will have a center for training where farmers and staff from the Ministry of Agriculture will be exposed to some of the advanced technologies in farming, “because we employ new technology in farming if we are to survive in agriculture.”
“In agriculture, we are exposed to increase pests and diseases on the farms largely due to global warming and the change in climatic conditions,” he noted.
Skerrit mentioned that also with new weather patterns, farmers need to know how to manage the pests and changes in climatic conditions, and how the issues of global warming can be dealt with on the farms.
“This facility will provide that kind of technology,” he said.
Skerrit said his government will also deal with advance tissue culture approaches to build more resilience and resistance in agriculture.
“We have to look at the planting material and the cost of the planting material, and to ensure that the stock that we bring in, the tissue that we bring in can withstand the pest and diseases on our farms,” he stated.
He said some of the money will be used for the construction of several schools in Dominica.
“We will construct a new Goodwill Secondary School, a new Thibaud Primary School, Calisbishie Primary School, Bellevue Chopin extension because we are now going to have a few hundreds of people moving into Bellevue Chopin…the Tete Morne Primary School, and the Sineku Primary School,” he explained.
He revealed that the other project from the Chinese government is the construction of new Police Headquarters and residencies for police officers.
“The first phase will be to construct the residencies, we have lots of land at Boyd Avenue, the idea is to build modern residencies and comfortable accommodations for the police and then demolish the section of the existing structure,” Skerrit indicated. “The Fire Service will also benefit.”
He stated that the balance of the funds will be used for the second phase of the new National Hospital.
Skerrit thanked the government of the People’s Republic of China for this generous contribution.
Meantime, LU said the agreement will open a new page for the China-Dominica friendship.
“Today we sign a new aid agreement to provide more support to our Dominica friends, we have opened a new page for the China-Dominica friendship and cooperation,” he said.
He said further that the agreement demonstrates China’s firm support to the social and economic development of Dominica especially through post-hurricane reconstruction and not only a reflection of the China- Dominica friendship, but also a symbol of China’s strong support to the recovery of Dominica after the ravages of Hurricane Maria.
He noted that last year the island suffered as a result of the ravages of Hurricane Maria and public infrastructure was severely impacted and many citizens were displaced.
“The Chinese government and the people feel strong empathy for what Dominicans have experienced,” LU stated.