THE Prime Minister of ill-fated Dominica is appealing to Dominicans to bear more patience while his administration and the other organisations work to get the island back to normalcy.
Roosevelt Skerrit reached out to his fellow countrymen at a press conference last week to assure them that the progress on the rebuilding of the island is pushing forward, albeit slowly. In the meantime, he has asked that his people remain positive.
Skerrit noted particular favour of those tasked with restoring the nation’s vital services, namely water, electricity and telecommunications. These people, he said, are all working feverishly with all their available resources to return the island to normalcy.
Skerrit added that his administration is doing everything in its power to rebuild the hurricane-ravaged nation, including trying to increase a US$64 million donation from the World Bank to US$100 million. The funds will be presented through a combination of grants and loans.
Via the island’s State’s insurance and the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) policy, the government received USD$19 million, which has since been deposited into its account at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).
Skerrit said a collective push is ongoing to ensure a constant flow of supplies to those in basic needs.
He said: “We’re increasing our capacity with our ability to now having trucks and vans. We’re calling on anybody who has a truck, anybody who has a van, to come to the EOC and register your name so you can assist us in transporting those supplies to the rest of the country.”
Skerrit added: “We have additional helicopter help from the British. They’re here with a massive ship. They’ll be helping us with additional helicopter delivery, especially to the east…We are taking supplies by helicopter, trucks, vans and by fishing boats. We’re pushing as much as possible to get supplies to the people.”
While encouraging the inflow of supplies, he asked that people from outside of the island refrain from sending personal packages for at least one more week as the current “all hands on deck” situation is to ensure that port and delivery personnel are getting vital supplies to the entire island.
He said: “The last thing I want in this country is for anybody to accuse the customs and the port and anybody else in the government system of stealing their packages. We want to ensure that there is good governance practice in respect to the receipt and delivery of supplies to the people.”
The Prime Minister gave his assurance that supplies will be distributed in a transparent, accountable and equitable fashion. Another assurance he gave during the press conference was for the security of school placements of regional and overseas university students.
Skerrit said: “I’m sending a letter out to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies to keep our students in and not take any actions on the students. We will make arrangements to keep our commitments to the University of the West Indies. We’re also informing the universities, especially in the United States where we have large numbers of students, to indicate to them that once the financial system is up we’ll keep our commitment towards students so that they can be at school.”
He said he hoped that said students will continuously work hard to make themselves and their country proud and that they would one day return to the island to utilise their learned skills in their homeland.