Government has received approval from Parliament for a US$41 Million loan from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to fund the Roseau Enhancement Project. The loan was tabled by Finance Minister Dr. Irving McIntrye during Parliament earlier today.
The Roseau Enhancement Project has been conceived with the aim of metamorphosing the city of Roseau into a contemporary and aesthetically appealing urban center. This comprehensive endeavor encompasses the revitalization of roadways and bridges, the construction of pedestrian walkways, and the augmentation of urban lighting infrastructure.
“The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development is prepared to lend to the government of Dominica an amount of 41 million United States Dollars or one hundred and eleven million, three hundred and ninety-two thousand, nine hundred Eastern Caribbean Dollars for an infrastructure rehabilitation project in Roseau on the following terms,” Dr. McIntyre said. “Repayment period 28 years, on a semi-annual payment, interest rate 2.5 percent [and] grace period, 8 years.”
In his explanation he said, Section 3:1 of the Loans Act Chapter 64:05 of the 1990 revised laws of the Commonwealth of Dominica amended by Section 4 of the Loan’s Act number 4 of 1996 authorizes the minister with responsibility for finance to borrow money for the purpose of financing general development or for other purposes by resolutions passed in Parliament.
Dr. McIntyre said government anticipates by then that Dominica will have its international airport, a marina, its cable car, geothermal energy, several highly patronized hotels and offshore universities, and thriving agriculture and manufacturing sectors among others, thereby resulting in a much larger, more robust economy, “with higher returns to the treasury to facilitate the debt repayment.”
Furthermore, he mentioned that the cost of construction continues to rise, “and so waiting longer would mean further increasing the cost of the project.”
“Imagine what the cost would have been if we had done this project in 2018 or even in 2020,” he stated.
He stated that over the past two decades, the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) government has been making a concerted effort to modernize and build resilience in public infrastructure island-wide.
“This is to ensure public safety, enhance the aesthetics of the country, improve access and connectivity, increase social interaction across communities, and support Dominica’s economic development,” Dr. McIntyre stated.
He continued, “Roseau the Capital City of Dominica has been benefiting from these enhancements including the commissioning of three new bridges, namely the West Bridge, the Dominica-China Friendship Bridge, and the Goodwill Link Road Bridge…”
Dr. McIntyre went on to state that the government’s vision is to transform Roseau into a modern, green, dynamic, and resilient City. Parliamentary Representative for the Roseau Central Constituency, Melissa Poponne-Skerrit said this is a long-awaited project and has been in the pipeline for many years before she entered politics. However, she said over the past three years she was determined to get this project off the ground in order to, finally, modernize the City of Roseau.
“Roseau is the heartbeat of our nation, it is the face of Dominica and so it must be able to mirror the breathtaking beauty that is found throughout our exquisite island,” Poponne-Skerrit stated.
She believes that these funds are crucial for the Roseau Enhancement project, a visionary initiative aimed at rejuvenating the capital city, Roseau.
“Our goal is to breathe new life into our city, enhancing its aesthetic appeal, fostering economic growth by providing our citizens with a city we can all be proud of,” she noted. “This project will allow for the construction of new and covered drains, smooth sidewalks with benches, upgraded lights, and widened roads which will allow for more parking spaces.”
She also mentioned that Roseau would become more accessible for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
“When it is completed those who have vision problems as well will be able to make their way through the city themselves,” Poponne-Skerrit noted. “Someone on a wheelchair will be able to utilize the sidewalk from Orchard all the way down to the West Bridge.”
She added, “The mothers who have benefited from my single mother’s program will be happy to utilize their baby strollers…”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said with the approval of the motion, “we are seeing the dynamic Dominica unfolding before our very eyes.”
He said now that the funding has been secured for the Roseau Enhancement Project his entire focus will be on the cruise ship village with new piers and also a modern cargo port.
“The both ports will be next to each other and I am hoping that very soon we can unveil those two projects in the country,” Skerrit revealed.
On behalf of the government of Dominica, the people of Dominica, and himself as Prime Minister he extended sincere gratitude and thanks to the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for this loan.