Dominica celebrates 34 years of political independence

ROSEAU, Dominica, Saturday November 3, 2012 – Dominica is observing its 34th year of political independence from Britain with the country’s newly elected head of state, Eliud Williams, telling citizens “we can be justifiably proud of the progress that we have made over those 34 years”.

Williams, who replaced prominent jurist Dr. Nicholas Liverpool last month, said that over the past three decades, Dominica had improved its social and physical infrastructure, electrified the entire country; built businesses and industries, schools and colleges, and developed a primary health care system which is a model to the developing world.

“Our scholars and artistes have achieved international recognition in various fields of endeavour which is a tribute to our resolve and intellectual capacity,” he said, adding when he examines the achievement “I am comforted that none of these developments could have occurred without the guidance of our Heavenly Father and the active support and engagement of our people.

“It is precisely because of these joint efforts and the engagement of all stakeholders that I believe that this year’s theme “Partnering for Further Progress and Development” is so appropriate.”

He said the theme recognizes that as citizens engage in the process of nation building, there are challenges and opportunities which must be addressed by all stakeholders including policy makers, employers, labour unions, business leaders and other social partners.

“This year’s Independence anniversary theme therefore offers a unique opportunity to re-define our path to further progress and development. It is an opportunity afforded us to set new goals and priorities given the economic and social challenges in our region and elsewhere.

“We must continue to explore new areas of economic activity and the many opportunities offered by the emerging industries.”

President Williams said that the service industries hold the best potential for economic advancement and could be used to leverage the intellectual and creative talents of the population even while recognizing the need for a continuous pool of knowledge workers as one of its main pillars for success.

He said the development of broadband technology over the past decade provides “an excellent example of partnering for further progress and development.

“As we continue along the path of development, we must appreciate that the road ahead demands that we remain resolute in preserving our democratic values and traditions and also recognize that there are still many challenges to further develop and improve on all that we have achieved.”

He urged Dominicans to remain focused on the constant need for dialogue and engagement of public and private sector.

“This dialogue and engagement that must also include civil society, conscious that investments education, which is Caribbean focused with a global perspective, offer the greatest hope in building the capacity of our people to produce high quality goods and excellent service for effective participation in a competitive global economy.”

The anniversary, which is being observed here as a public holiday, will include cultural activities and the award of national honours to deserving citizens.

Prominent trade unionist, Leo Jules Bernard Nicholas and environmental health specialist George Alexander Royer will receive the country’s highest award, the Sisserou Award of Honor during the parade of uniformed groups at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday. (CMC)

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