In words ripe with emotion lamenting that “Eden is broken”, Dominca’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit addressed the UN General Assembly this morning, seemingly intent on drawing the world’s attention to current conditions in Dominica in what he described as a landscape resembling a war zone.
The image he evoked was in direct support of his plea to fellow world leaders to assist the hurricane-ravaged island by lending the rebuilding equipment which would otherwise remain untouched “waiting for a war” and which is so desperately needed for the work of rebuilding the country. Roosevelt asserted that Dominica is indeed that war, to the applause of the floor.
Skerrit stated that Dominica needs : “water, food, emergency shelter, roads, bridges…” In effect , a complete rebuilding of the nation which has been reduced to its knees in the wake of the category 5 storm which hit the island in the late hours of Monday September 18, is now necessary. The plan according to the PM is not to rebuild “as it was” but in a manner which enables the island to bear rising sea levels and other destructive phenomena resulting from the increased hurricane activity in the region.
Pointing directly to the causal factors, Skerrit addressed the much-debated issue of Climate Change in the world. Stating that to deny Climate Change is to deny the lives of thousands being sunk to the bottom; declaring that in the Caribbean “…we did not start this war against nature…we did not provoke it.”
As he implored the international community to make a stand, the Prime Minister said that today we in the small nations of the world need to know “who has our backs.” Citing the example of the United Arab Emirates who has risen to the challenge by espousing a theme of increased giving, Skerrit asked his colleagues to follow the lead of the UAE. He asserted that much more must be done to assist the countries who bear the impact of climate change.
In light of the destroyed livelihood of the country and the resulting inability of the government to implement the planned National Vulnerability Risk and Resilience Fund, Skerrit contended that more funds must be made available for suffering nations. Additionally , he asserted that the World Bank must use already committed monies from the Green Climate Fund to provide aid to the devastated countries in the Caribbean.
Chiding the international community, the Prime Minister spoke sternly, saying : “Inaction and even inadequate action destroys life.” In the final moments of his speech, he beseeched his colleagues to let the extraordinary event which we are all bearing witness to, spark a thousand points of light. Promising that Dominicans and other Caribbean Nationals will play their part, reminding the world that “Dominicans are strong and Caribbean people are resilient.”
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