Prime Minister Skerrit and new Japanese Ambassador sign Exchange of Notes and Grant Agreement for US$7. 6 million Fisheries Centre at Portsmouth
Roseau, Dominica – March 27, 2009………………Dominica’s Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit has expressed his gratitude to the Government of Japan for honouring a commitment it made several years ago to finance the construction of a modern Fisheries Centre in the Town of Portsmouth.
Speaking at the signing ceremony for the Exchange of Notes and Grant Agreement on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at the Financial Centre, Prime Minister Skerrit expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of Japan and spoke of the strength of the relationship between the two countries.
“This ceremony, although a simple one is a very significant ceremony in the history and life of the relationship between Dominica and Japan. I have said repeatedly to the Dominican people that Dominica has cultivated over the years some very strong relationships with very important allies around the world. Japan is one such ally of Dominica and continues to demonstrate its commitment to the development and advancement of our country.
“You and I have been following the events around the world, matters related to the global financial crisis. Japan is not immune to this crisis at all. As a matter of fact, Japan itself has had to invest heavily in the banking sector over the last several months to stave off a collapse of its own economy. But because of the special and deferential relationship and commitment of Japan to Dominica and to this very important relationship, they have continued apace to ensure that a commitment given to Dominica is fulfilled.”
Prime Minister Skerrit stated that his Government would have understood if the Japanese Government had postponed the funding of the project due to the current global economic crisis, arguably the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
“Japan could easily have said to us that because of the present global financial crisis which also confronts Japan, that they would have to postpone the commencement and financing of the Portsmouth Fisheries Complex. But they have not done so. Instead they have sought to increase on the original amount from US$5 million to an amount of just over US$7.6 million. Words cannot express, Ambassador our deep appreciation to the Government and people of Japan for this tremendous gift that you have given not only to the residents of Portsmouth and environs but to the entire country of Dominica.”
In his remarks at the ceremony, new Japanese Ambassador to Dominica, His Excellency, Tatsuaki Iwata also spoke warmly of the relationship between Dominica and Japan.
“Today’s signing ceremony reflects the commitment of the Government of Japan to strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation that have long been established between our two countries. I certainly look forward in my capacity as the Ambassador of Japan to Dominica to continue the efforts of my predecessors in contributing to the development of these relations. ”
According to the Japanese Ambassador, the grant of US$7.6 million will provide the necessary fish landing facilities and infrastructure at Portsmouth, including the construction of a fish landing jetty, Sea Wall and River revetment, slipway, a fishery complex to include an ice making machine, cold storage, a fish processing room, market office and retailing outlets as well as locker rooms for fishermen and machine shops, among other facilities.
The Japanese Government official also remarked that when completed, “Portsmouth will be able to boast about having the most modern Fishery Centre in Dominica which will act as a centralised point for fisheries and fisheries related activities”.
Actual construction work on the new Portsmouth Fisheries Centre is expected to begin in the last quarter of 2009.