Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has announced that the cabinet has taken the decision to create 1,100 jobs to engage those made redundant and displaced by Hurricane Maria.
He said at a press conference on Wednesday that the jobs will be for skilled and unskilled workers and are to begin on March 1, 2018, with funds from the Citizenship By Investment Program.
“It is the government’s view, while we will be building homes, putting roofs back on our heads, building roads, building river defenses, building schools, we should not lose sight of the human aspect of development,” he stated. “And therefore we need to ensure that we can maintain the sanity and the dignity of our citizens.”
Skerrit has indicated that the exercise is going to be costly.
“But in our view it will be an investment that is worthwhile because the cost of repairing any potential damage will be more significant to the country and in the process we want to ensure that men, in particular, can maintain their respect and rightful place in their household, as head of the household because if they are unable to bring a pay packet at the end of the month, they may lose that position, a position that has been given to them by God,” Skerrit said. “It is clear in the bible and it must not only be in name, it must be in practice.”
Skerrit pointed out that if a person is “unable to bring a paycheck as a husband or boyfriend to your girlfriend or to your wife, then you have a problem.”
“While it may sound like a laughing matter, it is a serious matter,” he said. “And in very clear reflection, from the government’s standpoint, in consultation with various individuals, we’ve decided to create these 1,100 jobs, paid for by the government of Dominica with funds from the CBI to engage people who have been displaced because these people still have their mortgages, these people still have to eat, these people still have to send their children to school and on top of that they still have to find monies to fix their homes that have been destroyed by the hurricane.”
He said the Cabinet Secretary will provide details to the public next Monday on applying and registering.
“We have created a unit that will be responsible for managing this…” he noted.
Skerrit also explained that the new initiative will be separate and distinct from the National Employment Program (NEP) with a new administration to oversee it.