Roseau, Dominica – December 19, 2007………… Dominica has become the first country out of sixteen in the Caribbean to benefit from its participation in the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) following the presentation of a cheque for US$279,338.14, which represents 50% of the estimated full pay-out.
Dominica was struck by an earthquake which measured 7.3 on the richter scale on Thursday, November 29th 2007.
At a ceremony at the Financial Centre last week, Dr. Simon Young of CCRIF presented the cheque to Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit.
According to Prime Minister Skerrit, the issue of an insurance which would assist Caribbean countries to respond to disaster situations, “has been discussed for a very long time”. After the passage of Hurricane Ivan in Grenada in 2004, Caribbean countries again made a call to the donor community, more particularly the World Bank for assistance to develop such a facility. After numerous rounds of discussions at the CARICOM level and with the assistance of agencies like the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) was established.
The objective of the OECS Catastrophic Insurance Project, the Prime Minister explained, is to assist the Commonwealth of Dominica to participate in the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility so as to reduce the country’s vulnerability to disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes or any other major natural disaster.
Hon. Skerrit expressed his Government’s disappointment that Dominica did not qualify for a pay-out following the passage of Hurricane Dean in August, 2007 but added “we are extremely happy however, that this time around we can in fact benefit from the facility”.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States like Dominica and cited the examples of the earthquake of November 21, 2004 and Hurricane Dean of August, 2007 as testimony of that fact. “We are still undertaking rehabilitation work for the damage caused by the earthquake of November, 2004,” Hon. Skerrit said.
The Prime Minister expressed his Government’s gratitude to “the many persons and agencies which assisted in the conceptualisation of this facility and those who continue to manage it on behalf of Caribbean countries”. Mention was made by the Dominican leader of the World Bank, the CDB, the Government of Canada and many other donors who have committed to contribute to the Trust Fund. While welcoming the establishment of the CCRIF, the Prime Minister offered some advice on how the facility could be further enhanced.
“We wish to acknowledge that the CCRIF as it is now set up is significant but we also want to state that there is need to continue to assess the facility to ensure that it remains relevant to the needs of the Caribbean. I can mention here, that maybe, consideration could be given to broaden the scope of insurance to include such events as extremely heavy rains and flooding….” (Ends)