Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit has announced that plans have been set in motion to have residents of Petite Savanne permanently relocated due to the devastation in the community during the passage of Tropical Storm Erika.
Residents of the community of Dubique will also be relocated, he stated.
He said at a press briefing on Tuesday evening that he met with the residents of Petite Savanne, who are now being housed at the Dominica Grammar School since they were evacuated from the community after the storm, on Tuesday afternoon and there is unanimity among them that they have to move.
“That was very helpful because because of a number of consideration people are not always prepared to leave where they have been for several generations,” he stated.
He said the residents realize that Petite Savanne is not a safe place and will not be a safe place any time in the future.
Skerrit said a number of potential sites have been identified for the relocation and cabinet has appointed a committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Lands to deal with the matter.
He noted that each site will be assessed with safety being key.
“The present and future safety and the vulnerable index of those sites must be given strong consideration,” he said.
The Prime Minister noted that potential sites are also being looked at for the relocation and resettlement for the people of Dubique and once sites are agreed upon for the relocation of both communities, “the government will move expeditiously to commence the construction of homes.”
He said the relocation of the two communities is going to be a huge task and will not be a simple exercise since there are several families and households involved.
“You are talking about infrastructure one has to put in place, you are talking about facilities such as community centers, playing facilities, you are talking about health centers … there are a number of matters which we have to consider,” he said.
Skerrit revealed the government has solicited the help of the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) and the University of the West Indies to give advice on some of the matters to be considered in the relocation exercise “and rolling out a plan for resettlement.”
He said the relocation is in the best interest of the residents of both communities because they will be in a much safer place.
He noted that there will be access to both communities after relocation and government will make arrangements to have item retrieved from them.