PM Skerrit addresses COP 23 on climate change in Bonn, Germany

The effects of Hurricane Maria in Loubiere

EDITOR’S NOTE: Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has delivered an address at COP 23 (23rd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,) now taking place in Bonn, Germany. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, he said Dominica stands on the front line of the war on climate change. He appealed to the international community to assist Dominica to rebuild in a more climate resilient way. The Prime Minister’s full speech is below.

Today, Dominica stands on the front line…of the war on climate change.

At 5pm on September 17th out of the mid-Atlantic Maria emerged as a Category 1 hurricane with wind speeds of just over 120 kph.

Within twenty-four hours this monster storm had moved from a Category 1 to a Category 5 hurricane with wind speeds in excess of 270kph. Hurricane Maria was reported to be one of the most rapidly intensifying storms in recent history.

Our citizens barely had time to prepare before the ferocious winds and incessant rain began assaulting our nature island.

As night fell we hunkered down to await its onslaught. Some of us were forced to flee our homes in the dark of night seeking safe shelter, buffeted and battered, by the heavy rains and powerful winds.

When dawn broke the scenes of utter devastation across this once lush green island, were heartbreaking.

In some areas where houses once stood there lay mounds of dirt and debris others had their roofs blown off; Landslides scarred, the landscape trees were uprooted or laid bare and flood waters raged. All utilities were non-functional.

Assessments conducted by the World Bank Group and other international agencies indicate that 90% of buildings have either been damaged or destroyed, over 224% of GDP was wiped out with major damage sustained to our agriculture, tourism and housing sectors. Public infrastructure was severely impacted and our forests decimated.

Two months later 95% of the country remains without electricity, our water systems are compromised, and many citizens remain displaced and in shelters.

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the reality of climate change.

Within a few hours an entire country was brought to its knees by the forces of nature.

Two years ago we convened in a similar setting and signed on to the Paris accord. We pledged as an international community to take positive proactive steps to stem the tide of climate change.

The developed world pledged funds to be made available for the mitigation and adaptation of the harmful effects of climate change.

We know the potential impact of climate change and of countries that may disappear. How many of the countries that continue to pollute the planet had to suffer a loss of two hundred and twenty four percent of their GDP this year?

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen I present to you today that our countries remain under threat. To ensure our very existence the world must do better.

We argued at Cop 21 for 1.5° to stay alive – a commitment was made to 2° but by all assessments we will not even achieve that goal.

Ladies and Gentlemen, not enough is being done to ensure that we effectively mitigate the warming of our planet.

How many of our vulnerable small island developing states have been able to access green climate funds to make us more climate resilient? What mechanism is there for us to be able to access emergency funds when facing a disaster like that caused by Maria?

We have been put on the front line by others. We were the guardians of nature. We have not contributed to global warming.

Sixty percent of Dominica is covered by protected rain forests and has been so long before climate change. Our marine environment is similarly protected.

We are on the front line and this is not a metaphorical war, …or a metaphorical line…it is one in which we bury the dead, console the grieving, nurse our wounds and call out for reinforcements.

And we grow weary, …waiting for the world to hear our cry.

We hear that now is the time to act.

We read headlines of funds set aside. We smell the sweet fragrance of agreements, promises and commitments.

But we grow weary waiting.

Ladies and Gentlemen, despite the hardship we face we have decided to raise our standard.

We have publicly committed to the international community that we will rebuild ourselves as the first fully climate resilient nation in the Anthropocene. Our small island will shine the torch for others to follow.

But, we grow weary.

The international community has an opportunity now to truly demonstrate its commitment to battling the effects of climate change. We need you to partner with us to build a truly climate resilient nation a nation adapted to the new reality of fiercer, more frequent and more ferocious storms.

Ladies and gentlemen, last evening’s high level event provided the platform where a selection of non-party stake holders championed the critical message of accelerated climate action and how best to bridge the gap between non-party actors and negotiations.

We call on all stakeholders to help us to rebuild better and smarter. Maria that winged messenger of climate change destroyed thousands of homes.

US$200m is required to rebuild in more suitable locations and to a standard that makes them climate resilient.

We call on stakeholders to partner with us to rebuild.

Maria destroyed our education and health sectors. The World Bank Report supports that US$90m is needed to rebuild and make our schools, hospitals and clinics climate resilient.

We call on the global community to partner with us to help us take on that challenge.

Maria ripped apart our water pipes. We need US$56m to get running water again.

US$37m is needed to establish an entire system of climate resilient agriculture irrigation and food production.

Dominica needs US$15m to complete an investment in geothermal that would provide a significant boost to its renewable energy sector.

We are determined to restore our rainforests and protect our blue horizons.

We have grasped the moment to be the change we want in this world.

This isn’t a rash promise…it is what we are struggling to do TODAY.

But battered as we are we stand before you today awake and tall to the challenge.

We call for your assistance, support and partnership.

We ask you to not allow climate change to be reduced to a cultural war fought from armchairs.

We ask you not to allow the sceptics to sneer saying ‘I told you COP was all hot air’ and that ‘nothing real will change’.

I urge you today not to betray the Paris Agreement! Operationalise Paris. Give meaning to Paris…Now! Not on paper…but here in this forum!

Stand with us.

Pledge today to help fund the first climate resilient nation.

Help us to rebuild our homes, schools, pipes, and hospitals,…in a climate resilient way.

Join us. Join us. Do not leave us alone to fight this war.

Not yesterday, not tomorrow but today. Right now is the moment of truth.

Will it be the unraveling of Paris or the foundation of Paris?

That is the simple choice you get to make today.

It is a choice that will be measured by the degree of meaningful assistance you give to those suffering damage and loss today; yet fighting and fighting…on the front line.

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  1. Paul Rossnof
    November 18, 2017

    What a waste of space this man is. Travelling to Bonn, wasting all our scarce money and talking rubbish.
    Climate change…, we all know about and so do all those delegates attending. Why didn’t you tell all these delegates why Dominica is so poor and why things won’t improve as long as you are in charge? Almost 20 years in power and what has Dominica got to show for it???? But I guess you are alright Jack aren’t you. Oh and your friends as well.

  2. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    November 17, 2017

    “Today, Dominica stands on the front line…of the war on climate change.”

    Oh yeah!

    Skerrit runs around talking nonsense; what can Skerrit and Dominicans do to change any situation which contributes to global warming, excepting talking nonsense; who is listening to Roosevelt. The man goes into the UN and address a pile of empty chairs.

    The last time not one single representative of the United States, Canada, China, or any of the Industrial nations in Europe: France,  Britain, or Germany and others sat and listen to the nonsense he spoke about the more developed world are responsible for the damage Maria did to Dominica!

    The only audience Roosevelt gets in the UN are small nations representative from ALBA nations, and some waste of time African countries. Roosevelt words matters nothing to the leaders of the developed world, he has no bagging power, because he has nothing to trade: The polluters of the world are not interested in one who based his county economy on the sale…

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      November 17, 2017


      The polluters of the world are not interested in one who based his county’s economy on the sale of diplomatic passports to criminals. He cannot say Dominica is going to withdraw our support anything between the world powers which Roosevelt is a signatory too!

      He had better be careful that by the time he stop running his mouth, China refuse to give him any more handouts and demand any and all money he owes to China!

      Assuming we were consuming a billion dollars of commodities from any of the polluting nations, and we say, unless you change from tour status quo, we will not buy you product, perhaps they would listen to that  waste of time Mountain Chicken Carpaud (Crapo) Mentality Dr. Punjab:

      Who is going to Roosevelt when Dominica is of no actual economic benefit to their country!

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      November 17, 2017

      “Who is going to Roosevelt when Dominica is of no actual economic benefit to their country!”

      Who is going to listen to Roosevelt when Dominica is of no actual economic interest and benefit to their country?

      I live in America, and they UN is in New York, I’ve been any place and heard anybody say they listened to Dominica Prime Minister addressed members of the UN, the man is invisible in America, his voice is only heard, and recognized in Dominica by his poppets, and acolytes who follows him as fly’s! 

      • November 23, 2017

        Here you go Telemaque you in the U S A those are words why don’t you say what you are doing to help D/A you are one of them that just bad mouth your country because of politics
        and hate do something for your country and stop running your mouth.

  3. Prisca and Alan
    November 17, 2017

    Here is a link to the live address:

  4. Olderman
    November 17, 2017

    Well, as a guy from Europe I see, that PM Skerrit is doing the best for Dominica. He is using the way, which is really working in Europe and in UN. Continue, please! Remember Kyoto Protocol, where mostly developed countries have given the right to contribute to global warming – and we just want to pay us to get it back. I do not think this is a request for help, it is the duty of those countries. And Skerrit do understand, He is not just some local politician, his role is to be statesman and international politician. And now he is!

  5. Roseaau
    November 17, 2017

    Skerrit is now in a state of desperation , the man want to leave office but he does not know how to bow out. Dominicans I am calling on you all to bowl him out before we remain in this state of destitution.
    Trust me , we can do a lot better without Skerrit.

  6. My name
    November 16, 2017

    Mr.P.M please stop travelling and sit at your desk to work. Call meeting in Parliament. Get on the ground again to see how the island people are making out and the clearing of debris. So much work to be done but you travelling. As head is state you can make phone calls. Your heart is not in Dominica

    • November 23, 2017

      I just wish some of you would learn how to run a small business far more a country don’t you all know that you get better results face to face than on the phone where you ever hear a head of state negoating over phone why you think trump travel to Asia do you think was for a heir job?

  7. November 16, 2017

    Good speech dude but remember the big countries really don’t pay attention to theses little islands. Try to Focus on empowering your people on saving Dominica ?? by stop cutting a lot of trees, stop disposing of old appliances into the rivers . Proper disposal of garbage . Stop building on riverbeds and the lists goes on. We have to make the change. These big countries are busy looking into things that gonna generate money for their good ? I hate to say it Dude but I think it’s a waste of Dominican money traveling all over the place and no one is listening. Dominica ?? needs that money to rebuild.

    • Olderman
      November 17, 2017

      Well, somebody should do it, and I am sure that his travelling will bring much more than saves if he will sit in his chair. Somebodu should change the situation after Kyoto Protocols, where 128 countries have given the right to contribute to global warming, so they do it. They are making business with volumes of pollutions, and small countires & islands has nothing. I think these 128 countries + some more as USA should pay to relief funds permanently, because they are responsible for climat changes. I think, that this is, what PM wants to discuss.
      Anyway, if you will take a look to the future, you will understand better what he is doing.

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        November 20, 2017

        You are the typical Dominican!

        When I was a little boy in Dominica, one of the lies the labor party told all the time was” “somebody want to do it. ” However, when people asked who want to do it, or lets say “want to build something;” the answer was always we cannot tell you; because if if we tell you they will not come!

        You might be one of those old gully-gong, a remnant of the labor party repeating your old stupid slogan in reverse “well, somebody should do it!” Somebody who?

        Just before they shut down the building of the International Airport the UWP was building in 2000 they claimed “Somebody want to build it for less: however, after twenty years in power that somebody cannot find Dominica to build it for the labor party for free.

    • UK Dominican
      November 17, 2017

      And stop your friends building hotels right on the beaches that we don’t have many of in the first place.

    • Prisca and Alan
      November 17, 2017

      We agree that it sometimes seems like those in large countries or “powerful” leaders don’t listen with their heart, and that WE have to be the change that we are looking for. But PM Skerrit is laudably fulfilling his responsibility to BE with his people AND advocate as an international statesman. Do we really think it’s fruitless for him to travel? Tens of millions $ has already been given, with the remainder of the initial goal to be secured at next week’s “High Level Donor Conference”. Most Dominicans in the diaspora support his travels and are doing what we can to raise $ through our networks/personal connections. ALL of us have a role to play.

  8. Deliver us from the evil one
    November 16, 2017

    Despite what Skerrit says the truth is, Dominica needs deliverance because of late we’ve been experiencing a lot of what is no doubt appears to be the result of evil such as: the death of two young men that were on their way to represent Dominica in football and were fatally killed in a road accident on their way to the airport. What shall we say of five young men that sadly died in a car crash in Vielle case that Pm self said he met with them the night of their death and one even addressed a meeting he had? What about another young man that died in a car crash, while coming from the funeral of the five young men? Then we had Erika that killed so many, followed by Maria that did havoc. While I would want to agree with Skerrit and blame it on climate change, the truth is, the things I am seeing are pointing to an evil head that we need deliverance from. So maybe the UK or US should get involved and deal with that evil one the same way they dealt with Antigua Tourism minister Asot.

  9. DA blood
    November 16, 2017

    Ave Maria …hope all your family in Dominica are fine you need to take a trip to Iran to get what you deserve. Brilliant speech DR Roosevelt Skerrit love by many

  10. ??
    November 16, 2017

    These homes were built in the river bed. Whoever approved this should be fired.

    • Anonymous
      November 17, 2017

      Go on fire the! Remember is P.M. in charge all the time!

  11. Ave Maria
    November 16, 2017

    He can talk as much as he wants but NO serious government or individual will help him. Instead of running all over talking about climate change, Roosevelt Skerrit needs to take a trip to Iran and request a meeting with his RICH Diplomat that is jailed in Iran, by the name of Aliereza Monfared, and ask him to donate the rest of his bank accounts to the country where he was hiding for 6 months. Then since he is in Germany, he needs to stop in London and request to meet with another RICH Diplomat by the name of Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is awaiting trial for allegations of corruption. She too has money that she might want to donate to Dominica. Then he needs to move across to Spain and ask to meet with another RICH Dominican Diplomat by the name of Francisco Corallo, who is also in police custody and awaiting trial. He has money to donate to Dominica. On his way back to DA, he needs to stop in NY and ask to meet with another jailed Dominican and rich Diplomat by name of NG Lap Seng

    • D/can to de bone F
      November 16, 2017

      You talking ….here . You must be one of them suffering from political hated. Go shake your coal where you buy it.. when you do that come put hands on deck and build the damn counrty

  12. Ave Maria
    November 16, 2017

    Skerrit is a waste of time, so too is Savarin and so too is Dominica. Is Dominicans that allowed Skerrit to destroy the country and when God was tired Maria was dispatched. Climate change is just the excuse but the writing was on the wall long time. Dominica was fully sold and dedicated to evil, by our own government seconded by religious people. We got to the place where we called Evil good and GOOD evil; The works of Satan we called jesus and Jesus we called Satan. For years we have had all types of evils going on in DA and not even an investigation. On Christmas Day of 2010, the house of GON Emmauel was set on fire and a person made a confession to the police and on national radio. He said who hired him, how much was paid, who dropped him, and so much; But instead of investigating it we know the story. PM went to Labor department and described what he saw as racketeering. But no investigation. The list of criminal activities going on here without an investigation is so long.

    • dayandnight vision
      November 16, 2017

      Ave Maria you are the devil in disguise. You’re worse than Maria.
      Where did you come from? May God have mercy on your soul whoever you are.
      And DNO please print my comment!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Ave Maria
        November 16, 2017

        @dayandnight vision, if I am stealing passport money that belongs to Dominica, then I am the Devil in disguise. If I am the one that planned and organized the massive looting after Maria, then you are right I am the devil in disguise. If I played any part in hiding criminals like Aliereza Monfared in Dominica, then I am the devil in disguise. If I condoned or supported any of the evils, then you are right

      • Anonymous
        November 17, 2017

        And you are like the three monkeys, that don’t talk and see and hear no evil. Everythingi s nice in paradise but let me tell you, Dominica is rotten to the core, the religious fraternity included.

    • November 16, 2017

      @Ave Maria November 16, 2017

      To tell you the truth, I wish that DNO would not print all of those depressing, dark, and futile comments on their Newsboard. They are bad for all of us, who would like to remain sane through all of these distresses and despair which has grabbed us by the hair of our head; your comments are not helping that endeavor.

      • Anonymous
        November 17, 2017

        You ever considered that this may be the way people really feel Elisabeth? I wish it was different, better and I say so only because I DO care sister.

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        November 17, 2017

        Shut up you little foot yellow woman!


        The only reason you wish DNO  would not print other people “ting” is because you want to monopolized the site and they print only your com-mess parsing Mr. Crapo Mentality that Dr. Punjab.

        Everybody opinions cannot be the same, the only way that could be is if all of us were Dr. Mr Crapo Punjab Mentality acolyte! 

  13. sylvester Cadette
    November 16, 2017

    I LOVE THIS SPEECH. It underscores the hardship we continue to endure at the hands of many countries who care less for sustainability over the taste of a dollar. I remember the introduction to a history essay my brother wrote on the European settlers to the new world: “…the lure of gold was stronger than the fear of death…”.

    I hope this time that the lure of gold is weaker than the urge to save our planet.
    I pray that ALL Dominicans will fervently reaffirm our lifelong commitment through our Pledge and National Anthem to come forward SONS & DAUGHTERS to be champions in the fight to curb the ills that hasten present day sudden climate changes and to adjust to inevitable Climate Change.

    DOMINICA AND THE ENTIRE CARIBBEAN must become one voice in this battle for resilience and readjustment and prudence in ethical Eco-management and equitable fiscal management of our resources.
    I pray the International community likewise respond to DUTY OF A HIGHER CALLING.

    • November 16, 2017

      @sylvester CadetteNovember 16, 2017

      Amen to yours above: Amen! Amen!

    • sylvester Cadette
      November 17, 2017

      :) :) I note that many readers here are not in favor of calling out the wealthy countries for their greed which has hastened climate change. I also note that many of the readers are not in favor of coming together to reduce the effects of Climate Change.


      I remember the Apostle Paul to the Galatians:.. Galatians 3King James Version (KJV)

      3 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth

    • Prisca and Alan
      November 17, 2017

      We agree. EXCELLENT speech which hopefully will continue to be backed by action on the ground. The UN has a climate of respect all its own. No one/country is forced to do anything. PM Skerrit is doing a courageous thing to call out the greed, but unfortunately he can’t call out greedy leaders and countries by name and still maintain Dominica’s rightful dignity. Leave that foolish name calling to haughty ones like Iran and the US. Let us all be “fruits upon the tree of humility.”

      • November 17, 2017

        which action .Skerrit taking care of all his asset overseas.You see any international government giving morning?

        He need to stay home and put his hands to the wheel.All international government learn their from Ericka.

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