LABOUR IN POWER: FOURTH ANNIVERSARY SINCE MAY 5, 2005 GENERAL ELECTION

gomier-au_parc_work_in_progress_photo_two_may_2009.jpgRoseau, Dominica – May 5, 2009……………… In the midst of an unprecedented global economic and financial crisis manifested by record fiscal deficits, huge government debt, mass unemployment and economic contraction in the major developed countries, the Labour Party Government of Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit can still point to a number of significant achievements as it observes the 4th Anniversary since its May 5, 2005 General Election victory.  

In the last twelve months the Government can point to achievements in the areas of fiscal management, infrastructural development, geothermal energy development, agriculture and fisheries, tourism and human resource development.

 

The achievements in the last twelve months include:

 

1.      Real GDP growth of 3.2 % in 2008,  the second highest in the OECS after Grenada;

2.      Work is progressing well on the Soufriere-Scotts Head Sea Defences and Roadworks project Phase II at a cost of $16 million ECD financed by the Government of Venezuela;

3.      Work is progressing satisfactorily on the Roseau Road Reinstatement Project. Contract sum is $20.6 million. The bridge is expected to be completed within weeks;

4.      Works are advanced on the Road Improvement and Maintenance Project. Contract sum is $22.9 million ECD;

5.      Government signed the contract for Phase II of the TaneTane Sea Defences and Roadworks project at a cost of $1.5 million. Phase One was completed last year at a cost of $3 million;

6.      St Aroment Road rehabilitation has just been completed.  Contract sum is $1.3 million;

7.      Rehabilitation of Federation Drive in Goodwill was completed at a cost of $1 million;

8.      Government secured a soft loan of US$9.16 million for the Point Michel Sea Defences and Roadworks project;

9.      Work was completed on the road from the Blenheim Junction to the new Thibaud Bridge at a cost of over $ 3million. Work has started on the section from Gomier to Au Parc;

10. Work is advanced on the first phase of Canefield-Melville Hall Road. Contract sum for this phase is $29 million;

11. Work has started on the Fond St. Jean Sea Defences and Roadworks project. Contract sum is $2.34 million;

12. Work was completed in the last year on the Warner/ Sultan Road at a cost of $3 million;

13. Work on the final designs of the West Coast Road continued in the last twelve months. Actual construction is expected to begin later this year;

14. Signing of Exchange of Notes and Grant Agreement for Portsmouth Fisheries Centre. Contract sum is $US7.5 million;

15. Work on the Air Access Improvement Programme accelerated in the last 12 months with work expected to be completed before the end of the year. Total cost EC$109 million;

16. Work is almost 100% complete on thirty houses now under construction at Hillsborough Gardens in St. Joseph;

17. Work is advanced on the construction of forty-one(41) houses in the Carib Territory;

18. Work is almost 100% complete on the eleven houses at Bellevue Chopin;

19. Under the Home Repair and Sanitation component of the Housing Revolution programme  556  houses have been repaired at a cost of $2.8 million;

20. Thirteen houses have been completed in Chance in Portsmouth in the last few months;

21. Implemented the second phase of the Income Tax Reform Programme, removing an additional 585 persons from paying income tax;

22. Work commenced in the last twelve months on  tourism reception centres at the Indian River, Bellevue Chopin and Wotten Waven under the $10 million EU-funded Tourism Sector Development Programme;

23. New Roosevelt Douglas Primary School opened in Portsmouth in April. Total cost was    $6.8 million;

24. Comprehensive school bus programme initiated in the last twelve months. Ten school buses valued at $1.5  million are serving villages across the country with 811 children benefiting directly;

25. Implementation of the Waitukubili National Trail continued with trail construction, sensitisation meetings and training activities. Project is being implemented jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in partnership with the Regional Council of Martinique;

26. New Small Business Support Unit in the Ministry of Trade has provided zero interest loans to a number of individuals in support of various economic activities;

27. Formulation of a National Export Strategy now underway in Dominica;

28. Tariffs eliminated on more than fifty(50) items, directly benefiting consumers;

29. Work is progressing well on the new Salybia Primary School and the San Sauveur Primary School;

30. Work on the new Administrative Block at the Portsmouth Secondary School is progressing well;

31. Phase II of the Dominica Grammar School was completed in the last twelve months;

32. Sixteen young Dominicans left Dominica for China in August to pursue university degrees in a variety of fields, taking the number of Dominicans studying in China to 70;

33. Increase in the school transfer grant for children moving from primary to secondary school from $250.00 to $500.00;

34. In the area of geothermal energy development, it has been established that we do have geothermal resource in significant quantity in the Wotten Waven area. Work has started on the formulation of a National Energy Policy and Sustainable Energy Plan for Dominica;

35. Government signed agreement with West Indies Power Dominica Limited to explore and exploit  the country’s geothermal resource in the Soufriere/Scotts Head area;

36. Government’s first ever website, www.dominica.gov.dm  launched. ICT Unit has also been established;

37. Reform at the Customs and Excise Division is ongoing with the introduction of a modern computerised system- ASYCUDA World;

38. In December, 2008 Prime Minister Skerrit signed the 10th EDF Country Support Strategy Paper. This qualifies Dominica to receive 7.5 million Euro as general budgetary support. In November , 2008, Dominica received $14 million as budgetary support from the European Commission under the 9th EDF;

39. Agricultural Investment Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture  established in the last twelve months;

40. Government committed the sum of $4 million to the fisheries sub-sector following the passage of Hurricane Omar.  The sum of $2.6 million has been spent so far.                        To date $701, 045 has been spent on repairing and constructing ninety-eight (98) boats locally. Ninety-two (92) boat engines have been purchased at a cost of $1,008,839.98. Eighteen fibre glass boats have been received at a cost of $393,541. Work is continuing on the designs for combination boathouses/locker room complexes to be built across seven communities. A total of $225,000 has been paid as relief payments to 142 fishers to date;

41. In the last twelve months over $9.6 million has been injected into the agricultural sector under the EU-funded Agricultural Diversification Programme.  Two multi-purpose packing houses are now under construction in Roseau and Portsmouth. Total cost is $3.4 million. $3 million has been spent on the rehabilitation of twenty-four (24) farm access roads. Work is advanced on the construction of a National Centre of Testing Excellence at Stock Farm. Over $2 million has been spent;

42. The Ministry of Agriculture completed the introduction of the Agricultural Information Management System (AIMS). $900,000 was spent on the programme;

43. New  fully equipped Patrol vessel  for the Coast Guard  valued in excess of  US$728,000 was received earlier this year;

44. In an effort to deal with the nursing shortage, Government continued to  provide  financial assistance to persons doing nursing programmes at various levels in Dominica, through the  Cuban government-supported/Dominica State College programme, UWI (Trinidad)  and online;

45. Exemption from all hospital user fees for  persons 65 years and older and persons 18 years and under;

46. In collaboration with the Cuban Government, the Miracle eye care programme continued to benefit many Dominicans;

47. The ICT Development Programme funded by the European Commission at a cost of $17 million continued to impact positively on the population.  Hundreds of persons have received training through several ICT training programmes. Fifty-four (54) teachers have been certified and now have the International Computers Driving Licence (ICDL). 487 new computers were distributed to all secondary schools and five primary schools. Work continues on the formulation of a National ICT Policy for Dominica and the review of legislation governing ICT. There was also a  very successful ICT Fest in March 2009;

48. A number of communities, most notably Petite Soufriere, Boetica, Carib Territory and Woodfordhill continued to benefit from resources from the Dominica Social Investment Fund. Many communities also benefited from resources under the Basic Needs Trust Fund.  

49. Minimum Wage rates increased for the first time since 1989. That became effective from June 1, 2008;

50. Dominica hosted a highly successful Reunion 2008 when thousands of Dominicans returned home on the occasion of the country’s 30th Anniversary of Independence. Reunion 2008 was a collaborative effort between the Government of Dominica, the Reunion 2008 Committee, private sector organisations in Dominica and Dominicans living overseas.

 

As the Government looks forward to the next twelve months, the Roosevelt Skerrit administration is cautiously optimistic that the heightened implementation of its Public Sector Investment Programme, increased private sector activity coupled with its adherence to responsible fiscal and economic management, that Dominica can stave off the worst from the current global financial and economic crisis.

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