Tonge says government working to improve access to Dominica

Passengers coming off the Val Ferry on its inaugural trip to Dominica

Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge, has divulged the government’s plans to ameliorate the troublesome issue of air and sea access to Dominica.

Speaking at the annual general meeting of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA), on Wednesday evening, Tonge described the recent introduction of the new ferry service, Val’ Ferry, on-island, as a “welcome development in increasing the links to the French islands” – namely Guadeloupe and Martinique.

The Minister stated that the government has partnered with InterCaribbean Airways and hopes to soon enter into agreements with several airlines for increased travel to and from Dominica.

“We have InterCaribbean [Airways], which has helped us to increase our access to the country. They initially started with three flights. They’ve gone up to five flights, and they’ve given us the assurance that once the need is there, they will further increase the number of flights to our country,” he exlplained. “The government is also concluding three major agreements with various airlines for increased options to and from Dominica—especially during the upcoming winter season. One of these initiatives will be to ensure that when the Norwegian Flights start from Canada and New York into Guadeloupe, that we can capitalize on that by having a flight that can take you to Dominica.”

Tonge also referenced the highly-anticipated international airport.

“The government has stated its clear intention to build a modern facility capable of accommodating direct flights to and from our major market sources,” he said.

The construction of an international airport has long been spoken about in Dominica.

In November 2013, during a visit to China, Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, signed a US$300-million deal with Chinese company ASCG with “reconstruction of an international airport” among projects to be undertaken under the agreement.

At a Dominica Labour Party (DLP) Rally, on May 5, 2014, Skerrit said that his government was actively pursuing several projects, including the construction of an international airport through the BOOT – Build, Own, Operate and Transfer – option, with a team of private developers from China.

During the presentation of the 2018-2019 budget, the Prime Minister noted that an international airport will help secure the island’s investment in tourism, and vowed that his DLP administration will construct an international airport in Dominica.

Skerrit said that US$5-million has been set aside per month for the construction of such a facility, and thus far, the Government has been able to set aside over EC$149 million.

 

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49 Comments

  1. Truth
    August 19, 2018

    I don’t understand. From having USD 300 million from china to having already set aside a EC149 million. So you lying about something. Which one is the truth PM.

  2. watch dog
    August 19, 2018

    I read these postings and smile. Like someone said you guys have been there for 18 years. First and foremost the issues that will continue to plague this country is !. take a look at the people who is in charge of your police force. I have worked with everyone of them. Carbon as a the chief should has at least an associates degree i am not talking about a masters just an associates in some criminal field. The deputy i have worked with him he is a fool. Valentine is a follower. what educational back ground does Robert Tonge has in his field. These deals should have been done from day one that you took office as he tourism minister. OMG

  3. london Bridge
    August 18, 2018

    You play with the country like it’s a joke. I am not sure how these guys get into office. I am not bashing DLP or UWP. My elected and appointed officials, you guys have to do better. You have to be stuck in one of the neighboring islands to really feel the struggles of traveling to Dominica. You land in a neighboring island at 12 noon and the only flight is gone when your country have shares in the regional airlines LIAT. You guys honestly think that makes sense? I hope they can put someone in office that can make a change. I would rather spend a $100 and spend the night in Dominica than spend $10 and spend the night in San Juan.

  4. August 17, 2018

    I have started visiting Dominca…3 years ago….and having to fly out of Dominca … early in the morning…to just either sit in Antigua for be 4 to 6 hours for a connection or fly to Barbados…and overnight… for a connection to the US…is crazy…..true traveler…..but until they get better flight connection…..I might as well visit ….. Barbados…at least I can get home in 1 day….
    International airport…. please..
    Create jobs and programs to get the youths out of that place…..too much talk…where is the results
    Help with programs … with US companies to help get the younger generation….some hope….
    Visiting… Dominca…is becoming depressing…….

    • Iamanidiot
      August 18, 2018

      Exactly, and the “average Dominica” than going red clinic for 5000 and screaming labour power doesnt travel and cannot relate. But funny enough When im in Antigua I always see the “big boys” going to the VIP Lodge in the air port when they connecting so I guess they doesnt mind waiting 5 hours for a flight

  5. Gone
    August 17, 2018

    Robbie, please let me give you some very good advise. 1. Please get the hell out of this mess and go back to your father’s business. 2 please do not speak because everytime you speak you sound more and more like a fool. 3. please tell Joseph Isacc exactly how you feel for making Skeritt demote you and choosing to send him up in Roseau instead of you. Do not put any water in your mouth to let him know how you feel.

  6. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    August 17, 2018

    “The government has stated its clear intention to build a modern facility capable of accommodating direct flights to and from our major market sources,” he said. I am not an English major, but I took enough classes to recognize lies and tricks when I see them. How long have you guys been repeating the same lie with variations here and there? That photo of passengers walking in the rain after disembarking from the ferry is simply atrocious! The facility is uncovered and there are no modern ramps leading to the ferry. Robbie, you’re a total waste of time. Time to pack up and get out.

  7. Neville
    August 17, 2018

    You guys are always working and you guys are always talking… but unfortunately you guys can’t deliver.
    Shut up, we don’t want to hear any more Skerrit propaganda. By the way, where is your boss? Hiding in New York I suspect spending time with his emigrated family. How shameful. Only Dominicans but up with BS like that.

  8. Bring back the kidnapped parrots
    August 17, 2018

    A Dominica election must be in the works soon, same old talk about a international airport. They have been saying the same thing for about 20 years about election time. The runway at Melville hall needs to be extended out into the Atlantic at the east end by at least 2,000 feet to make night landing from the ocean safer.

  9. The Evangelist
    August 17, 2018

    I don’t even want to hear these guys again. I really don’t want to hear or read anything these lazy, corrupt, evil minister have to say. I don’t want to hear none of them from Skerrit down to the worse of them and I guess it’s going to be tuff to select the worse minister because the long line includes Ianm Justina Cathrine, boy so damn long least of worse ministers because all of them on that list. Honestly speaking you know what these guys deserve? I will not say what except that they must be ALL voted out!

    On another note I really enjoy reading the passage found in 1st Kings 18 about the false prophets of Baal and how they were exposed. In fact here is my favorite verse:
    1 King 18:40 Then Elijah said, “Capture the prophets of Baal! Don’t let any of them run away!” The people captured all the prophets. Then Elijah led them down to the Kishon Valley, where he killed them

  10. Voice of GUILT
    August 17, 2018

    Now they are exposed, their lies have been exposed by the truth so they guilty and talking away. No longer can they tell us is Erika and Maria that caused Ross to run out of Dominica, they talking air access. What hell air access they talking about when those students of Ross that need improved air access didn’t get it. Did you all listen to the 40 min. conference call of Adtalem yesterday with their wall street investors? Well in essence they said Barbados has a government that is interested in education, Barbados has a mature health system that includes a teaching hospital that will allow them to grow…Are they indirectly saying that Dominica had none of the above and would therefore cause them to shrink instead of growing? But the big blow was when they said that they will spend between $USD 25-30 million dollars or EC$67-80 million dollars, just to get out of Dominica. Boy that hurts eh! What a shame on the government of Dominica

    • sataybon
      August 17, 2018

      Leave it so. Majority of Dominicans like the country so. They can run red clinic to beg. Don’t stress yourself.

    • August 18, 2018

      Is there a recording of this call?

  11. weh
    August 17, 2018

    For starters they can add an evening LIAT flight from Barbados into DA, so people don’t have to overnight.

    • Malatete
      August 17, 2018

      LIAT pilots do not like flying into Dominica at night because if it is dark the landing approach must be made from the east, over the Atlantic.This is problematic with a strong tailwind.

      • Bring back the kidnapped parrots.
        August 18, 2018

        The runway needs to be extended by at least 2,000 out into the Atlantic, it would not be a easy feat but it could be done using rock and dirt from the west end by the mountain. The road can run through a tunnel under the runway If it is extended jets can land with no problem, look at St Martin. Dominica does not need an international airport the runway needs to be extended. How much runway is needed for a 737 and 757 to land safely.

  12. Sams
    August 17, 2018

    Tongue the kind of thing I would say I’m trying to book a flight from st marten to Dominica and it’s worse than coming from London to NY money is not the problem but I cant even get a flight to connect me on time Shame shame the dlp and u need to go packing we need a change

  13. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    August 17, 2018

     Tonge described the recent introduction of the new ferry service, Val’ Ferry, on-island, as a “welcome development in increasing the links to the French islands” – namely Guadeloupe and Martinique. “(Tonga).

    Flying time  between Dominica and Guadeloupe is approximately fifteen (15) minuets; Dominica to Antigua approximately twenty-five (25) minuets. The difference in Tonga new efficient way of travel  in and out of Dominica is traveling his friend boat.

     “Tonga” keep talking about this great boat will afford people access to Dominica; I wonder if Tonga is going to spread the news internationally that visitors, and returning Dominican residence from North America, and Europe should fly to Guadeloupe and Martinique wait for days on the boat which he might have a share in to take them to Dominica.

    The idea Roosevelt is saving peanut change to build airport is never to come to fruition. At the rate Roosevelt and Tonga is saving it will take twenty years to save enough to…

    • Sorry
      August 17, 2018

      Francisco tell Dominicans what you have contributed to your country.

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        August 17, 2018

        When I contribute to my country, I do not do it for show and tell!

        Whatever I contribute that is my personal business not yours; I am not one of those who does things to get recognition by anybody; and certainly I do not do things only to hear some hypocritical “thank you.”

  14. Malatete
    August 17, 2018

    Intercaribbean airlines show two direct flights, five times a week between Dominica/ Tortola and Dominica/St. Lucia, using their Brasilian built twin-turboprop, 30 seat EM2. However I doubt these flights/aircraft are really suitable to grow our tourism and are mostly targeted at inter island traffic. The connection with St.Lucia could be useful but unfortunately both the airport (SLU) and timings make same day connections with international flights not practicable – flight departs Dom (DOM) 18.15-arr. St.Lucia(SLU) at 18.55 hrs., departure St’Lucia (SLU) 09.10 – arr. Dominica 09.40 hrs.
    I can not find any any agreement for direct scheduled flights between Dominica and N. America. Mr. Tonge alludes to three possible airlines but without details of their names or confirmation of flight data I would consign that to the wish list for the moment.

    • Malatete
      August 17, 2018

      PS. Because of the timing of the Dominica – St.Lucia flights one needs to overnight in St. Lucia to conduct one day’s business.
      The flying distance between DOM and SLU is 107 miles and duration of the Intercaribbean flight is 40 minutes. The lowest fare I have been able to find is U.S.S.298.86. return.
      Note. Interestingly Intercaribbean refer to our Airport (DOM) as Dominica Marigot.

  15. Iamanidiot
    August 17, 2018

    Tongue always talking about this flight and that flight, could care less, we need an international air port, the world is getting smaller and smaller. People making friends all over the world, If I want to see my friend in Italy, I dont, I DO not, I shall not, I want not, I DOE want, I doe want not, I want not to , I want to not have to, I doe want to have to , (Creole now ) , Mav lay, Mar lay, Mweh Par lay , (Back to english ) I dont not want to have to go to Barbados to then get to my destination. And think of it, when foreigns have to stop 2 countries before they get here. That is money they have to spend over there they could spend here cause they must eat.

    • sataybon
      August 17, 2018

      Merci pou kweyol la!! hahahaha :lol:

  16. viewsexpressed
    August 17, 2018

    Tongue watch your Tongue, if you do not know what you talking about, it is best to shut up and remove all doubts of nonsense from the people you intend to address. We have been this and that will soon be operational and yet nothing. The only thing that is happening in Domininca is this Blind corrupt labour government your condone for its massive on gong corruption.

    Look I just heard the running away Joseph Issac taking nonsense of so called development that labour corrupt government has been promoting for 18 years. Now they pick up a worthless run away politician who has cradled himself next to the broken wings of a failed Pm and corrupt Labour government talking elevated nonsense of the development of Roseau. he sounds like he is begging to be believed, Guess he is ashamed that he is under the dirty covers of this corrupt labour group he has joined. Shame. Labour government has failed you big time and you may be seen as puppet waiting for crumbs.
    Labour must Go….they are…

  17. Channel 1
    August 17, 2018

    Steeeeeeuuuuuuuppppppppppsssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    NEXT!!!

  18. derp
    August 17, 2018

    oh you mean increased access to bring down allu voters for the coming election hmmmm

  19. CB BOSS
    August 17, 2018

    Excellent initiative! I am also hopeful that we can approach the hemp and medicinal marijuana industry simultaneously.

    Major beer companies like Corona are investing serious coin into the marijuana industry. So lets keep working to make Dominica resilient and economically solid.

    • viewsexpressed
      August 17, 2018

      These worthless guys in Government know nothing of resilience and you there promoting that big word for them. Do you think in the past 18 years these guys have promoted or even knew of resilience? They have enriched themselves, ignored the poor, ran all over the world demeaning us, sold our passports and can’t see value. They have killed our island Dominica with no more crops being produced and marketed to overseas islands. How ridiculous can you be by abusing the word resilience to these political clowns and worthless empty barrels led by a failed inept Prime Minster leading a very dangerous corrupt Labour government. Please don’t get us more sick than we are.
      Government working to bring access to Domininca my foot! What BS you talk. What we want is the exit from Domininca of these corrupt labour clowns and their surrogates out of Domininca Now. Go meet Trump. We do not need no political Tramps in Domininca, they are politically illiterate and know not of government and development

  20. Sams
    August 17, 2018

    Tongue you worse than the PM fool yourself when I see the plane land then I will say we have a airport else from that hold your quick quark

  21. AP George
    August 17, 2018

    Just build that airport. Just talk talk talk. ValFerry is not owned by the gov’t and should not be used as part of their growth strategy. Oy! Enough now. Just build the airport. Let us see those plans, they should be ready by now.
    $5million a month, they should have about $100million by now. Stop election-baiting people. Build the airport. Geesh!

    • August 17, 2018

      ValFerry leaves Pointe-a-Pitre for Portsmouth late enough in the day to potentially be a helpful part of getting to Dominica from North America or Europe in one day without having to overnight somewhere else. That’s actually a pretty big deal.

      Besides, it not being a government initiative is a good thing, not a bad thing, because it indicates actual market demand for travel to DA, which is a good thing to be able to show airlines, etc.

      • Iamanidiot
        August 17, 2018

        That is not the point, Do you live in Dominica? do you travel? You have to jump to too many hoops to get to dominica.
        When my friends in Barbados want to go states you know what they do? Book a flight to states.
        What I have to do: Look for a flight to states from Barbados, then look for a flight to Barbados that not more expensive than the flight to states. Make sure the day I taking it I have enough time to make it if LIAT late? No flights on that day? Then I have to go back and change the date to go states from barbados, to then come back and find a good flight on LIAT. but oh oh…the flight from liat is reaching at 2pm and my flight to states from barbadoes is at 2:30, that’s too close… have to go back and look for another flight.
        Getting 50 boats to bring us to another country is not what we need

      • Malatete
        August 17, 2018

        Steve, whilst helpful it is also cumbersome. To smoothen the process I would suggest two things: One, include the Dominican departure tax in the ticket price for the ferry. Two, also include the transfer fee from/to Point-a-Pitre airport to/from the ferry terminal in the ferry operator’s ticket price. You don’t want to have that hassle when you are arriving/departing on a connecting international flight.

      • August 17, 2018

        Malatete, excellent suggestions. I’d actually kill the departure tax altogether, but yes, at a minimum it should be wrapped into fares so that getting shaken down isn’t tourists’ parting impression of the country.

        Iamanidiot, I go back and forth between Dominica and the Washington, D.C. area, and at various times have had to overnight in San Juan, Barbados, Guadeloupe, and St. Martin to do so, so yes, I’m keenly aware of the problem. As someone who shares this problem, you should be delighted if there’s a ferry leaving Pointe-a-Pitre for Dominica as late as 6pm. You’re quite right that it’s not as good as a nonstop flight from your point of origin, but it’s still a hell of a lot better than overnighting somewhere.

      • iam
        August 18, 2018

        Steve Foerster
        Regarding your reply to me, we do it because we have no choice, we live in Dominica.
        You think that’ is attractive for a tourist ? All the money the tourist would spend in Dominica they have to spend it in other islands before they get here.
        Stop “making excuses” and accepting mediocre, why cant we have the air port? Look at st vincent, I dont want to hear “at least” it’s bbeen 20 years. “At least” We didnt vote for a government to tell us “at least we have a ferry”. I do not want to take the ferry sir, Tiime we put our foot down

      • August 20, 2018

        It’s not “accepting mediocrity” to understand that something good is better than nothing good, even if that something isn’t everything you might want. Douglas-Charles may not be what most people think of as an “international airport”, but its runway can handle a non-stop flight from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. If the demand is there, why doesn’t an airline schedule one?

      • Liz M
        August 21, 2018

        Yo Steve, give it up. You make good points much of the time, but runway too short, only small private jets like those Ross U vip’s used or Amerijet suicide landings (with cargo) dare attempt this long haul, you pulling straws off de air.

  22. AP George
    August 17, 2018

    Just build that airport. Just talk talk talk. ValFerry is not owned by the gov’t and should not be used as part of their growth strategy. Oy! Enough now. Just build the airport. Let us see those plans, they should be ready by now.
    $5million a month, they should have about $100million by now. Stop election-bating people. Build the airport. Geesh!

  23. jamie
    August 17, 2018

    Tonge please i have been reading this same old promises for the past 18 years,you all are washed up dude,Dominica can never move forward as long as Skerrit remains in power,the country is doomed and cursed.But the dumb so call supporters continue to take in the empty promises.

  24. zandoli
    August 17, 2018

    Skerrit has “said” a lot about the construction of the airport. If you guys notice, it’s all about saying and nothing about doing. Not that I think we need an international airport.

    When Tonge talks about these flights from these major international marketS, exactly which marketS is he referring to? Flights from multiple US destinations? That is not going to happen. There may be a once weekly flight out of Miami which the government will have to subsidize.

    In a perverse way, I wish all they do is talk about international airport, but get down to getting more AFFORDABLE flights within the region at times allow people to connect with international flights into Antigua, Barbados, St. Maarten and San Jual.

  25. Ibo France
    August 17, 2018

    Mr. Tonga’s address is replete with many promises and uncertainties hardly anything definitive. Words and phrases such as ‘hopes to soon enter into agreements with several airlines’, ‘they have given us the assurance that’, ‘ the government has stated its clear intention to build to build a modern facility capable of accommodating direct flights……’. Mr. Tinge, the time for words has long passed and deeds alone will suffice. Simply put, Mr. Tinge, people need action not words. What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.

  26. Socaman
    August 17, 2018

    Who’s kidding who. Almost 14 million ec a month, where’s all that coming from.

  27. Liz M
    August 17, 2018

    I wish Ross could have waited for that 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 and 18….intl airport. But again you snooze you loose.

    • Paul Rossnof
      August 17, 2018

      … and loose they will!

  28. %
    August 17, 2018

    Tonge where were you when a billion dollar company,called Ross , was asking you all lazy idiots in the DLP to provide the requisite facilities for them to stay on island?Were you all sharing relief for votes instead Robbie?
    Robbie your shame buds are dried,just go tell Skerrit to call election,because you all are useless.You all need to go!!!
    BY the way who will contest Roseau Central Robbie?Are you already dumped Robbie?
    Skerrit Must Go
    Skerrit Must Go
    Skerrit Must Go Now

  29. RasB
    August 17, 2018

    Unfortunate rehashing of the same old rhetoric, This looses credibility, is it not time for us to allow the activity to do the talking?

  30. Liz M
    August 17, 2018

    Easy, Just save CBI money to build an intl airport, you must build one!

    • derp
      August 17, 2018

      they’re to busy filling their pockets :lol:

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