Roseau, Dominica– April 15, 2010……… In a statement to the Nation on Wednesday, Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit delivered a comprehensive report to the country on the progress made by his government in many areas in the first 100 days since the new Cabinet was sworn in on January 4th 2010.
At a rally of the Dominica Labour Party at La Plaine on Sunday, December 13th 2009, Party Leader and Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit announced a number of measures designed to reduce the cost of living and increase job opportunities that would be pursued in the first 100 days should his party be returned to government.
Speaking at a live news conference yesterday, flanked by other members of Cabinet and government officials, Prime Minister Skerrit announced the following:
- Cabinet has approved the creation of a total of 144 positions at the qualified and at the graduate teacher levels
- Cabinet has directed that the training programme for teachers be vigorously pursued so that the remaining 56 positions of “qualified teacher” can be filled at the earliest
- Cabinet has approved the creation of 100 new nursing positions, making it possible for those nurses who have successfully challenged the Regional Examination for Nurse Registration(RENR) to be appointed as Level 1 or as staff nurses
- Cabinet has approved the creation of fifty (50) new positions at the level of Police Constable. Thirty-five(35) of these positions will be filled in the current financial year and the selected recruits will begin training soon. A second batch of recruits will commence training in the next financial year
- Cabinet has approved the establishment of a Fire and Ambulance Station at St. Joseph, to become operational in the present financial year
- Cabinet has approved the creation of an additional eleven(11) positions of Fire Officer
- Cabinet has approved the establishment of an Employment Agency
In his address at La Plaine on December 13th 2009, Prime Minister Skerrit also gave a commitment to address the cost of living, an issue of much concern to Dominicans. In his report on the first 100 days, the Prime Minister outlined actions taken by his government to help reduce the cost of living in Dominica. These include:
- Port charges have been reduced by 20 percent
- Goods can now remain on the port for up to seven days before incurring port charges
- Cabinet has approved the removal of customs duties and port charges on gifts, including barrels valued up to $150
- In addition to rice, flour, sugar, milk and other items used in the production of goods and services that do not attract any payment of VAT, Government is actively considering some additional items for inclusion on the list of zero-rated VAT items
In his report to the Nation, the Prime Minister also commented on the commitment given in La Plaine of a minimum pay of $1000 per month to all full-time government employees.
Hon. Skerrit revealed that only non-established government employees receive less than $1000 per month. The Cabinet has directed that the hourly rate of all non-established government employees be increased to a minimum of $5.77 per hour with effect from April 1, 2010. As a result of this action, no non established worker who works at least forty (40) hours per week will henceforth receive less than $1000 a month.
Apart from fulfilling pledges made in La Plaine, the Prime Minister stressed that his government had not been “exclusively occupied with attending to promises made on the election platform”.
“We have continued to regularise squatters, to address the housing requirements of the needy, aggressively pursue our programme of road rehabilitation, upgrade and expand the water services and improve the stock of school buildings to name a few,” Prime Minister Skerrit concluded.