On Sunday 29th November, Honourable Francine Baron, Minister for Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Affairs of the Commonwealth of Dominica, together with Mr. Colin Piper, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA), met with Dominican Nationals and well-wishers of Dominica at the Dominica High Commission in London.
Minister Baron stopped in London while on her return to Dominica from a successful meeting at the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) Summit where Dominica’s nominee, Baroness Patricia Scotland, was successfully elected as the next Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. Nationals in London expressed their support and confidence that Scotland would do Dominica and the wider Commonwealth Caribbean proud.
DDA’s CEO Colin Piper presented details on the impact of Tropical Storm Erika on Dominica’s Tourism product.
Mr. Piper, assisted by The Brighter Group, was at the time in the United Kingdom to meet with important Travel and Tourism stakeholders and to give the very clear message that significant progress has been made following the Storm’s impact and Dominica is again open for business.
In her remarks to the gathering, Minister Baron gave a comprehensive report on Government’s progress to date in the areas of: clean-up, relief distribution, infrastructure works, housing and resettlement, social services – schools, reconstruction, the private sector, and International aid response since Tropical Storm Erika. Baron indicated that the Government intends to make significant improvements as it rebuilds the affected parts of the country and will “Build Back Better”.
Minister Baron thanked the Dominicans residing in the UK and the many organisations and friends that had come together to send relief supplies and orchestrated fund-raising events to assist in helping Dominica to rebuild.
She acknowledged the efforts of Dominican Associations and The Tropical Storm Erika Relief Committee in raising significant funds which they have indicated would go towards funding a reconstruction project to be identified. In that regard there was a symbolic handover to Minister Baron of cheques totalling approximately £57,000 (equivalent to EC$232,500).
The Foreign Minster expressed sincere thanks and appreciation on behalf of the Government and people of Dominica to Dominicans living in the Diaspora for their tremendous relief efforts and also to the Government and people of the United Kingdom for their assistance and support.
“The task of rebuilding the country is an urgent priority, and would require ongoing support and assistance from Dominicans living in the Diaspora and friends.”
During the event The Waitukubuli Culture and Tourism Initiative, a project of Dr. Violet Cuffy brought to fruition with the support of the High Commission of Dominica during the tenure of the Minister as High Commissioner, presented a certificate of appreciation to her for the assistance and encouragement given to them. This initiative is specifically focused on introducing young people of Dominican descent living in the UK, to Dominican culture and traditions and to encourage them to visit Dominica and embrace their roots.