Roseau , Dominica – January 7, 2008………………..In his address to the Reunion Wivé activity on January 1, 2008, Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit told Dominicans that the world Dominica operated in when it gained independence nearly thirty years ago had changed significantly.
“This great clarion call to visit the homeland is being sent out at a critical juncture in our history and in our development. This harsh reality is that the Dominica that is our home today is not, cannot and should not be the same Dominica that Britain handed over to us in 1978. The world in which Dominica now has to operate is a changed place,” the Prime Minister stated.
The global relationships, conventions and agreements that facilitated our capacity to produce and trade and thereby earn income to support our imports and consumption are no more, Hon. Skerrit noted.
In the post-preferences era, the Prime Minister further stated that “current arrangements require us to progressively open up our markets to imports under tariff regimes that are uniform and non-discriminatory. In like manner our exports will receive similar treatment. In other words, we are required to become globally competitive. This is the critical issue on which consensus should be built as we reason together”.
Hon. Skerrit admitted that managing a small economy like Dominica with mountainous and hilly terrain has been no easy task.
He pointed however to the Government’s success in preparing a road map for the development of Dominica through the Growth and Social Protection Strategy, formally adopted by Cabinet in 2006.
“It is a strategy that came out of intensely consultative processes across the length and breadth of Dominica. I would be pleased if every Dominican was familiar with the contents of the strategy. This would allow more informed and constructive discussion in our quest to arrive at a common vision and mission for the building of Dominica.”
The Dominican leader also used the opportunity in his presentation of the Reunion Wivé activity to underscore the role played by Dominica’s friends and regional and international organisations in the country’s development over the last thirty years, and particularly over the last three years.
“We have found it prudent to make new friends in the international community while holding onto the old. Building the physical infrastructure for our country’s development, while providing social services and caring for the needy, presents a formidable challenge. We have faced that challenge by expanding our circle of friends who have willingly partnered with us in pursuing our development objectives,” Hon. Skerrit noted.
The Prime Minister made special mention of the People’s Republic of China, the European Union, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Republic of Cuba, the Japanese government, the governments of Canada, the UK, USA, France, Nigeria, Libya and CARICOM.
” They have travelled with us on our journey along with a number of regional and international organisations such as the Caribbean Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, to name a few. We cherish their friendship and request their companionship as we continue on the journey,” Prime Minister Skerrit concluded. (Ends)