Reunion Committee Chairman Hubert Charles examines the journey Dominica
has travelled in thirty years of political independence
Roseau, Dominica – October 22, 2008……….Executive Chairman of the National Reunion 2008 Committee, Mr. Hubert Charles, used the opening of a three(3) day Reunion Development Conference on Tuesday to examine the journey Dominica has travelled in the 30 years since the country attained nationhood.
The theme of the three day conference is: Continuing the Journey: Dominica’s Development, Challenges and Responses going forward.
In his address to the conference, a major highlight of activities for the commemoration of Dominica’s 30th anniversary of independence, Mr. Hubert Charles outlined some of the strides the country has made in several areas:
· The transformation of the economy of Portsmouth largely as a result of the establishment of Ross University School of Medicine
· The establishment of the National E-Business Incubator, charged with nurturing young businesses and emerging businesses which are increasingly using information and communications technologies in their day to day operations
· The strong contribution of Dominicans living in the diaspora to Dominica’s development, particularly through remittances
· The growth of the cruise sector, the dive sector, eco-tourism sector and the growth in community tourism
· The increasing vibrancy of the services sector, particularly the successes of Dominican firms operating outside of Dominica
· Initiatives aimed at poverty alleviation
· Enjoyed much success in maintaining the integrity of the environment
· Built a repertoire of cultural expressions manifested through creole, dance, music, costumes, poetry, cuisine and more
· The teaching of creole at some of our schools
· The growth of regional initiatives like the OECS Economic Union, CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the EPA with the European Union and Dominica’s membership of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA)
Mr. Charles acknowledged that despite the strides that have been made in the last thirty years, “we still for all intents and purposes await the economic take-off”. Looking back over the last thirty years, he lamented the capacity of the country to “retain our youth and to attract and retain migrants and investors”.
He stated that he hoped the Development Conference would serve as a vehicle for discussion and exchange of ideas on the rejuvenation of the agricultural sector, the exploitation of our cultural industries, clarification on issues with respect to the further development of the Portsmouth area and the more ” purposeful exploitation of the successful ‘Nature Island’ brand”.
The Reunion 2008 Committee Chairman expressed the view that the conference would provide an opportunity for engagement of the diaspora, not only in dialogue but in “building of economic capacity through investment including skilled and knowledge development”.
Topics for discussion for the conference include: Restoring Agriculture to its rightful place: Making tourism work for our communities; New opportunities for Business in the Services Sector; Dominica’s membership of the CSME, OECS Economic Union and the EPA – making those arrangements work; The Nature Island: Green Investment: the new Growth Paradigm; Improving our People’s Quality of Life – Issues and Proposals; Towards the fuller engagement of the Dominica diaspora -Issues and Proposals(to include the issue of emigration and Fostering Development in the Portsmouth area.