Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit urged Caribbean nationals and students to familiarise themselves with issues relating to climate change as science and historical facts indicate that nations will be visited by more frequent and ferocious storms.
“For us, climate change is not because of individual harm or a result of ecological harm; it is a matter of existence or non- existence” as more countries will disappear or be decimated, he said. PM Skerrit was speaking at a meeting last week Saturday at the parish hall of the St Theresa’s RC Church, Barataria.
Earlier, main celebrant Dominica-born priest Fr Elton Letang CSsR, moderator Barataria/El Socorro cluster, and Fr Robert Christo, moderator Mayaro/Manzanilla cluster, presided at the 6 p.m. thanksgiving Mass under PM Skerrit’s honourable patronage.
Among those present were Dominica’s Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Petter Saint-Jean; Justice Herbert Volney, former High Court judge; Dominican students pursuing studies in T&T and other Dominica nationals; representatives from aid relief agencies such as ITNAC (Is There Not A Cause) and One Island, and parishioners.
In his address, PM Skerrit said that Dominica was being educated on ways to “build back” a more resilient country, and one with a vision. This vision, he said, entails a number of aspects including a focus on agriculture—specifically, the types of technology employed by farmers, farming practices, the suitability of crops for particular locations and directing the farming communities to those realities. Another key issue being considered is employing resilient communication systems during a natural disaster.
PM Skerrit also mentioned that having 226 per cent of Dominica’s Gross Domestic Product impacted is “not an easy feat” for any country, developed or non-developed. He maintained, “We continue to run the country with prudence and responsibility,” adding, “we shall pay all legal debts as a responsible government as a matter of principle”.
Both PM Skerrit and Minister Saint-Jean expressed profound gratitude for the outpouring of love and support in Dominica’s time of need. “As Prime Minister of Dominica, I have travelled to several countries since that fateful night of September 18, sensitising persons to the magnitude of our devastation. The response from all and sundry has been overwhelming. But to date, nothing impacted me more than the image of that long snake of loaded containers making its way to the port of Port of Spain for shipment to Roseau, Dominica.”
He continued, “I’d like to say I value the assistance given but nothing compares to the spirit of the Trinidadians in times like this. You picked us [up]; you lifted our spirits; you lifted our souls.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Saint-Jean said, “You have demonstrated indeed that we are one Caribbean, that neither the Atlantic nor the Caribbean Sea can separate us from each other. It is commonly said that to everything there is a season….And I think this is the time that we as a Caribbean people demonstrate our true sense and understanding of Caribbean unity and brotherhood.”
He implored Dominican students in T&T “If there is ever a time that Dominica needs you is now. So remain focused and do what you ought to with due diligence.” He ended, using the motto on T&T Coat of Arms, “‘Together we aspire; Together we achieve’.”