Member of the Catholic Fundraising Committee (CFC), Val Cuffy revealed that an additional EC$3 million is now needed for the completion of Dominica’s Lady of Fair Haven Cathedral in Roseau. He appealed to Catholics and the general public to make financial contributions to the project, which has been under renovation since 2011.
Speaking at a June 29 press conference, Cuffy said EC$7 million has been spent on the renovation thus far, however only $1.2 million is available and a loan of EC$3 million was procured to ensure the progress of the project. Cuffy confirmed that the funding, which has maintained the renovation to date, was acquired from various sources including the Government of Dominica, fundraising activities, donations and assistance from other supporters.
The CFC said the slow progress of renovation works coupled with financial constraints has delayed the project and the initial completion date of 2018 is to be determined. “We still have a lot of money to raise to complete the project and we need to start seeing a better commitment from our people in terms of doing what we can for our church,” Cuffy said. He went on to say, a contribution from each household of EC$100 a month or more, “will go a long way”.
Diocesan Engineer Bernard Lauwyck indicated that the project, which is anticipated to be completed in 2018, after 15 years of preparation, fundraising and work, is currently at phase five of twelve. He revealed the initial vision was to have the roof completed by February 3, 2018. However, after uncovering the bell tower, it was discovered that the timber was rotten, which pushed the completion date to March 18, 2018.
Phase one began with decommissioning the Cathedral and the removal of the furniture, and the removal of the asbestos roof in phase two. Phase three involved the retrofitting of the foundation and the walls of the structure, while phase four, the placement of the steel frames.
Local news website Dominica News Online reported that the fifth phase began earlier this year with the actual placement of a hurricane-resistance roof material manufactured by REIDsteel. The UK steel construction company carried out the structural design, drawing work and fabrication of the roof’s 60 tonne steel frame, purlins and ceiling supports – all at its site in England. The new roof frame includes 44 tonnes of galvanised structural steel and 15 tonnes of steel purlins and ceiling supports.
Upcoming fundraising activities include a Praise and Worship Concert in Portsmouth July 30 and a Parish Feast Fair at the St Mary Academy grounds, August 13.
The Chronicle sought the opinion of the public on the progress of renovation works on the Cathedral and the appeal made by the committee for financial assistance.
The consensus among those interviewed was that the CFC should seek financial assistance from the Vatican.