Two years ago, Dominica was in shambles – a dying island cut off from the rest of world and wrecked by a hurricane that left 71,000 people with no homes, no food, and a ravaged nature island.
Today, its daybreak in Dominica. After doing a yeoman’s job for a herculean task, the country is now moving forward at a fast pace – thanks in part to the Dominican spirit that is embodied in the current Prime Minister and his entire government apparatus. No longer are the people wary of the ghost of Maria, they are looking forward to a sustainable and progressive program under Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit. He dug deep and he delivered.
I know this from experience and traveling the world. In New York where I was born, we see nothing but back-breaking working-class people trying to fulfill their dreams in a take no prisoners world. This takes a toll on the spirit and takes the luster out of the city. To visitors, however, they see nothing but the glamour that we the people and our government created. And it is refreshing and uplifting that New York is seen through their eyes instead of our own. It is more credible when the noise is muted. Sometimes we have to see everything in a different perspective to have a greater appreciation of what we have. Travelling taught me this valuable lesson.
As a travel writer, I’ve seen this weariness in people from the different countries I’ve visited around the world. The fatigue stems from the negativity of politics and our human nature to put people down. Although the world is astounded by the fast recovery of Dominica from Hurricane Maria, political aberrations from the opposition continue, trying to downgrade the progress that’s been done. I’ve seen this in many countries I’ve been to, and as a foreigner, I’ve also seen what locals tend to neglect or take for granted, that truly work and recovery is done by action, and not by political machinations. I’ve felt it and I’ve seen it, and I couldn’t be prouder of Dominica.
I am surprised though that in spite of the gains made the noise persists. Even for a statement made as a call to action by Prime Minister Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit was taken out of context and spun by opposition trolls. I am not surprised at all that political statements are sometimes taken out of context to mean another thing, but what I am surprised at is the audacity of the opposition to play on people’s fears using negativity. This only goes to show why Dominicans fail to see what other countries have seen. And I’m tired of being on the sidelines while I enjoy the lush greenery of Dominica that two years ago was dead brown.
As I look through the gamut of the government’s thrusts I am in awe of its energy and resiliency. After all, it’s hard enough to recover from a devastating hurricane, much less execute government programs in full gear. But that is what Prime Minister Dr. Skerrit has done in the past 2 years since Maria left the country in shambles. Yes, he did run things for Dominica.
Under the DLP administration, it ran an ambitious and successful USD 22 million investment in education, where access to higher education for state colleges are free. This puts a premium on the government’s drive to equip Dominica’s young to pursue studies in any discipline of their choice, while every child is transported to their schools, again, for free! I do not know of any island in the world who does that amid recovery.
The government also has built a world-class multi-purpose facility stadium, where football and cricket are played with renewed vigor that is similar to the administration’s character. But while the Prime Minister’s energy is being tested by the opposition’s knack for downplaying everything as just political promises, a revolution of sorts thru infrastructure developments sprouted here and there. What with the Roseau enhancement programs to develop riverbanks and sidewalks coming into place, as new electrical lines along its bank had been reinforced, still, the opposition tried to drown it with the words, “political gimmick.”
But words don’t produce the necessary sourcing of finances to sustain Dominica’s development, iron will do, as Prime Minister Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit sourced the much-needed funding to back his projects.
Amid all criticism, PM Dr. Skerrit was able to launch a housing revolution that would cater to thousands and thousands of Dominicans, providing them with hurricane-resilient houses, again for free.
To date, the wave of housing development has been in full swing in all hamlets of the country, and Skerrit assured that decent housing will be provided to all. “I have a home to give me the security my family needs,” Skerrit said, “and I want every Dominican to have a safe home to come home to, free from fear from another hurricane.” Besides, his cabinet and party are unveiling a comprehensive and massive housing program for young professionals.
Most notable in Skerrit’s achievements is the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital, where first-class medical treatments are available for every Dominican. Scoffed and laughed at for its misplaced ambition to provide the country with a first-class medical facility, Skerrit boldly said that, “the joke’s on them.” For not only did he provide a hospital that is modern and responsive, but Skerrit also made it a point that the hospital has a HIFU machine that diagnoses and treats patients with cancer and other ailments. For a developing country that is something else, especially when you’re running it in the aftermath of a destructive hurricane.
To top it all, a flat-tax rate is being developed for every working Dominican in the island, which would be a huge bonus to all on top of the developments in housing, medical provisions and beautification, and tourism programs.
I guess my op-ed piece will be interpreted as political rather than factual by the noise of the opposition’s machinations. Hey, maybe it’ll even drown it out successfully. But I don’t care. I’ve seen too many tragedies in my travels, but I’ve never seen a country move forward this fast before either. The transformation wasn’t built by standing still. And I’m traveling and enjoying the country again. See you tomorrow for a renewal of spirit and determination that is yours to celebrate and honor.
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