[Press Release] Remittances: Reducing poverty, promoting access to education

Frances Delsol – CBC News

In 1976 Frances Delsol left the small community of Grandbay in Dominica and migrated to Toronto, Canada to attend university. Following university, Delsol would go on to work for companies like Bell Canada and hold the prestigious position of Vice-President of the Black Business Professional Association [BBPA]. Over the years, Delsols passion for advocacy would span across oceans. Opening a bank account was a vital first step for her in settling into a new nation. This would have a significant impact on her, and the family and community she had left behind.

In 2004, I headed the Commonwealth of Dominica, Ontario Association [CDOA], the largest Dominican organization in Canada,said Delsol. Through the efforts and under my leadership, we were able to support farmers after Hurricane Dean, Princess Margaret Hospital through several fundraising galas and to support Dominica after Tropical Storm Erika and Hurricane Maria.

As a founding member of the CDOA, Delsol ensured that her homeland received targeted support through remittances in the wake of natural disasters that affected Dominica. A recent IOM study mapping Eastern Caribbean diaspora organizations indicates that the motivation among Caribbean migrants to contribute to post-disaster recovery in their country of origin is high, with remittances as a percentage of GDP tending to spike in the Caribbean in the aftermath of disasters.

World Bank estimates based on IMF data indicate that in 2021, during the COVID-19 crisis, personal remittances received in Dominica peaked at an all-time high of US$65 million. In 2015, the year of Tropical Storm Erika, remittances into Dominica also peaked at almost US$56 million. Similar trends were demonstrated after Hurricane Maria, with remittances of US$86 million received during the recovery period between 2017 and 2018.

In Dominica, the contribution of remittances is not insignificant. In 2020, remittances received in Dominica were estimated at 10.4 percent of national GDP, well above the average of 6.9 percent average in Caribbean small island states, and 2.4 percent average across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Financial institutions facilitate these flows, offering migrants access to financial services such as opening a bank account that can be used to save or transfer funds. Migrants in Dominica can access the banking system just like nationals, as long as they meet the primary requirements.

These will be identification verification through presentation of a passport, proof of local residential address, and also proof of income,says Suzanne Joseph-Piper, Head of Corporate Communications, Marketing and Business Intelligence at the National Bank of Dominica (NBD). A valid work permit, or acceptance letter in the case of students, is also required.

In some cases, additional information is needed if the migrant is supported by a national, such as proof of legitimate purpose for being in Dominica. Joseph-Piper says that the bank works to establish a symbiotic relationship with migrants, one that is built on trust.

Jean Delva* left Haiti in 2019 in search of a better life. He found a safe environment in Delsols community of Grandbay in Dominica and became a farmer. Delva left his family behind in Haiti.

Since I came to Dominica, I have been thinking of ways to help people back home in Haiti with healthcare and school supplies,said Delva. Delva and two friends send money each month to Haiti via money transfer. They are part of an organization that has assisted close to 100 children and sick people who need medical treatment. Delva said transferring money to Haiti is expensive. If they send XCD$100 to Haiti, the fees are XCD$40. They are currently seeking additional support from charitable groups and organizations, to be able to help more people have access to education and good health and wellbeing at home in Haiti.

As governments and policymakers pursue achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) recommends that they create an enabling environment that facilitates access to secure, affordable, and efficient channels for remittance transfers. This will help to ensure that the full potential of this money flows to improve the quality of life for families and communities.

Frances Delsol in her own words:
Suzanne Joseph-Piper, National Bank of Dominica:

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3 Comments

  1. Danna
    July 21, 2023

    Wow, wow. But not a single word of criticism of the person that causes most of the poverty in Dominica, that precedes over a massive increase of crime, that precedes over the nepotism and corruption on our island, that is responsible of the unfair distribution of state funds, that keeps on delivering unfair elections…
    You want me to continue, Mrs. Delsol?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  2. Toto
    July 19, 2023

    As far as I know Haiti is a member of Caricom and if that organisation is worth its salt it should be possible to send money from Dominica to Haiti without somebody taking 40% out of the transaction. That is awful and worse than usury.
    Who is guilty of this rip off?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
  3. Zandoli
    July 18, 2023

    This reads like a story about nothing. Remittances are an important contributor to the livelihoods of those left behind. That is obvious. I am not sure what new light the story shed on the topic.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

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