New thrust on maintaining platforms of energy, agriculture, tourism and enhanced citizenship
Roseau, Dominica – November 17, 2008…….. Dominica’s Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit has laid out his vision for Dominica as the Government seeks to build a modern economy in the face of mounting challenges in the international arena.
In his Address to the Nation at the Parade of Uniformed Groups on November 3rd 2008, the Prime Minister said that at the national level, “the new thrust must be based on maintaining platforms of energy, agriculture, tourism and enhanced citizenship“.
In response to the ongoing global energy crisis, the Prime Minister highlighted the PetroCaribe initiative, in which the Government of Dominica is receiving fuel from Venezuela on preferential terms. Hon. Skerrit also announced that his Government is investing in more efficient electricity generating equipment with the support of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
With respect to the exploitation of Dominica’s geothermal resource, the Prime Minister referred to the granting of a license and the ongoing work with respect to the exploitation of the geothermal resource in the south of the island and the exploration of the geothermal resource in the Wotton Waven area with the support of the European Union, AFD and other French development agencies.
Recognising the importance of the agricultural sector to the Dominican economy, the Prime Minister spoke of the ongoing programme of modernisation in the agricultural sector and the programme of investment aimed at drastically improving not only production but also productivity in agriculture.
On the important area of improved market access for Dominican produce, the Prime Minister vowed to improve and strengthen years of informal links between farmers, shippers and agents.
“We will spare no effort at expanding market access as we continue to pursue structured market arrangements and boost transportation. We make this commitment to our hucksters. These valiant souls consisting mainly women, who have built a trade from their keen sense of what is needed on dinner tables and from their courage to traverse the raging seas. It is time to bring them unto centre stage. With markets available and organised connections established, farming can take on a new lease of life and younger entrepreneurs will be encouraged to engage in the industry.”
The Prime Minister also highlighted the importance of the tourism sector and the need to use the country’s natural assets in a sustainable manner.
“The natural resources of our land forms the basis of our tourism market and in our journey ahead we must ensure that all the links are made and all our efforts are geared towards the sustainable use of those resources for the benefit of all.”
The Prime Minister highlighted the work of several entrepreneurs who have “wisely married the conservation of our most precious resources with the entertainment of our most adventurous visitors. I speak here of the growing whale watching, diving and snorkelling niche markets”.
“These are initiatives worthy of replication across the country. In so doing, we will help create a tourism product that is uniquely ours and will enhance our appeal in the Caribbean and international tourism markets,” Hon. Skerrit noted.
Government’s investments in the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) was also given prominence in the Prime Minister’s address. Mention was made of the ICT Development Programme which is being financed by the European Commission. This $17 million programme is geared at enhancing Dominica’s capacity to maximise the benefits to be derived from the modern economy.
The Dominican leader highlighted the benefits of ICT to several sectors. “The positive effects of our improved human capital and information and communication technology are not limited to the newest sectors of the economy. Such technology is revolutionising the tourism industry where independent travellers are searching the internet for the most exotic destinations of the globe, discovering the Nature Isle and reserving flights to Dominica,” Hon. Skerrit said.
“This new technology has significantly transformed how teaching and learning are done in our homes, our communities, and schools. It has given to the performing artists of Dominica new tools with which to produce and to market their works, the result of which will be a vibrant tourism industry. This new technology also has the promise to similarly take agriculture and all departments of the public service to new heights. This has already begun, with the launching of the new Government website, www.dominica.gov.dm unveiled by the Establishment, Personnel and Training Department a few months ago,” the Prime Minister stated.
“Despite all these initiatives in international relations, education, energy, agriculture and tourism, our attitude as a resilient and committed people will be the determining factor in our Dominica’s development,” Prime Minister Skerrit concluded.