Dominica’s Prime Minister makes a plea for small and vulnerable economies
Roseau, Dominica – September 30, 2008……. Against the backdrop of rising food and fuel prices internationally and an increasingly unstable international financial system, Dominica’s Prime Minister , Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit has issued a call to the developed countries of the world to help bring about “meaningful change” in the lives of peoples of developing countries.
The subject of “change” was a recurring theme in the address of Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, one of the youngest Heads of Government in the world, in his contribution to the General Debate of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last Friday evening.
“As small states, we increasingly feel we have fallen off the radar screen of the developed countries, which seem inconsiderate of our plight, especially in the key areas of trade and financing for development.
“Over the past decade, many countries have taken steps to effect ‘change’ as recommended. Sadly, in far too many instances, things have remained pretty much the same. Mr. President, what is really needed is ‘meaningful change’ and a greater global commitment to making that change happen.”
The Prime Minister told the August body that Small Island Developing States like Dominica cannot achieve ‘change’ by themselves alone.
“When I speak of ‘meaningful change’, I mean ‘change’ that goes beyond lip service and makes a noticeable difference in the lives of entire populations. Many countries cannot achieve such change alone. They need vital support from countries with advanced economies.”
The Commonwealth of Dominica, like many islands in the Caribbean is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world. It is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and landslides from heavy rains.
In August 2007, the island was hit by Hurricane Dean, a disaster which wiped out 20% of the island’s Gross Domestic Product. (GDP). The earthquake of November 21, 2004 also caused extensive damage to the island’s infrastructure.
Government is now seeking to diversify the island’s economy after decades of dependence on one export crop, bananas for the country’s economic survival. These efforts have been frustrated by the frequency of natural disasters and the present energy crisis which has seen a surge in fuel and food prices.