How important and how substantive is the assistance Venezuela has given Dominica to date – that’s a question Dominica News Online has put to Venezuelan Ambassador Carmen Martinez de Grijalva.
She has shied away from giving a definitive figure, although the very jovial diplomat has promised to make the figure available in the near future.
Ambassador de Grijalva says however Venezuela’s donations are intended to benefit “the people”, and identifying the level of the assistance is not all that crucial.
“I think that the money is not important, it’s a lot of money but for me that is not important. What is important (is) the impact on the population. For President Hugo Chavez the most important is the human being, is the people, and the assistance for the people” she said.
“President Chavez says thank God we receive resources and for us the most important is to join the struggle with our brother, with our sister, with our friend”.
“Dominica is our friend, is our brother, and we have the obligation to assist Dominica,” the Ambassador told DNO.
She however emphasizes that Venezuelan aid to Dominica is important for the island.
“Because for example, the housing revolution in Dominica, you can see the assistance in all the country,” the ambassador said.
She also referred to the impact of the Petro Caribe fuel arrangement from which the island is benefiting.
Government itemizing of some of the projects and funding provided by Venezuela so far lists the Soufriere/Scotshead Seawall at a cost of $30-million dollars.
Dominica’s Ambassador to Venezuela Dr Philbert Aaron says Caracas also provided funding for the Tan Tan Sea Wall, the Salibia Primary School, and the Petite Soufriere to Rosalie Link Road.
Another significant project, he says, is the Housing Revolution which has focused on housing construction and other related aspects in a number of areas including Salibia and Hillsborough Gardens.
Venezuela has also provided Dominica with vehicles of national security costing $2-million, and a marine patrol vessel valued at $1.9-million.
Other major projects include the $3.9-million Grandbay Police Station, sea defence and road works at Melville Hall airport totaling $26-million, and water projects at Delice, Warner and Campbell at the cost of $7.95 million.