PM Roosevelt Skerrit addresses Dominica, outlines ways to improve different sectors

Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Dr Roosevelt Skerrit, addressed the nation on Monday, December 12, 2022, at 6 pm where he talked about the national reset.

Roseau, Dominica: Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Dr Roosevelt Skerrit, addressed the nation on Monday, December 12, 2022, at 6 pm where he talked about the national reset.

He stated that he is pleased that the preliminary reports of the several international observer teams and missions, who observed the Elections have given a resounding nod of approval to the open and transparent manner in which these Elections were two conducted and the overarching conclusion that the will of the people of Dominica was manifested and determined, fairly.

“Dominica has great potential and has created plans and policies to build our resilience and spur greater economic growth and development for our country. However, to realize our true potential, we need all Dominicans, despite our political differences, to work towards the development of Dominica and a better life for our people, “said the prime minister.

Emphasizing the major issues, PM Roosevelt Skerrit said that the rising cost of living is a major issue for all of them. The price of food, raw materials and transportation has significantly increased regionally and internationally, from 3 the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, both issues that are beyond our control. The Government has taken action to cushion the blow as much as it has been able to. The reality is there is only so much that can be done, but your Government will continue to do all within its power and the resources available to ease the burden on our people.

He continued that there are also vexing issues such as the inconveniences and cost of inter-island air travel and maritime transportation. This carries major social and psychological challenges for those who must traverse the islands for business and pleasure, visit and interact with loved ones, or access vital health care and other services.

PM Skerrit said that many have raised this issue, and the reality is that our islands in the Caribbean are literally and figuratively cut off from each other, making it nigh impossible for the average citizens or residents to commute.

“In essence, my dear people, we end 2022 and approach 2023 knowing that we shall have to be creative and innovative in navigating and surmounting these and other hurdles occasioned by external shocks and influences,”he cited.

Confronting these challenges, he added that they should not allow political tribalism and disunity to stifle our ability to succeed as a nation. We should not seek to tear others down but stretch out a helping hand to others, pull each other up and celebrate their successes. And this is why he called for and am forging ahead with the concept and ideal of a National Reset.

He shared with the people the intended make-up of the new Government. Most glaring shall be her decision not to retain the vital Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

I” have made known my intention, not to serve out this term as Prime Minister, and therefore I have, in structuring this Cabinet of Ministers, begun to share the traditional load and weight of responsibility of the Prime Minister with some of my more senior members,”said the prime minister.

“In this regard, also, you will see that I have retained ministerial responsibility for issues of Governance and chief among these at this time is the matter of electoral modernization. This undertaking, embarked upon several years ago by us, will be 6 followed through and implemented, in the spirit of cooperation and national collaboration, by mid-2023. Later, I shall make specific reference to the day to day management of that particular initiative.”

Structuring of this new Cabinet, he added that they have also taken into account the need to forge new linkages, such as between Foreign Affairs, International Business and Trade. These shall all be part of a single portfolio as we believe they are complementary and can be better advanced from a single ministerial perspective and direction.

“I firmly believe that we need, in great earnest, to attract new and exciting business ventures to Dominica. Likewise, I believe that we need to create not only the enabling environment to bring about new, high paying jobs for our people, but also to boost production of local products for the local and export market. In this regard, Trade and Agriculture will be working closely together to formulate and maintain this desired nexus.”

He remarked that the Health, Wellness and Social Services shall be a single portfolio, and we shall bring together at the policy making level, bright and energetic Parliamentarians who shall work assiduously at maintaining and improving upon the stellar health services and systems, and an improved delivery of health care for our people.

About sports, he stressed that Culture, Youth, Sports, and Community Development are other intertwined areas that will be falling under one portfolio, which will also be highlighting the key importance that my new Government shall attach to Sports and its development, as well as the matter of Young Men in Crisis. “We are satisfied that we cannot just speak words to this demographic, but, as a government, we have to get on the ground and connect with young men in particular, so as to seek out and address issues in a reasoned manner and reasonable time frame,”he added.

PM Roosevelt Skerrit asserted that the Agriculture, Blue and Green Economy are again connected and on this occasion, Fisheries shall stand out as an upgraded department of this ministry. Indeed, they are fortunate to have Dominica’s resident expert on the subject in our midst as a Member of Parliament, and his skills shall be utilized in furtherance of our goal to explore and maximize benefits to be derived for Dominica through Blue Economy endeavors.

“The National Reset that’s unfolding will be forged with the building of confidence and trust among social partners. You will see that we have created a special ministry of Labour, Public Service Reform and Social Partnership to operationalize many of the concepts that we have spoken about over the years, including the need to review 8 and revise the terms and conditions of public officers, as well as improve the efficiency of the service they provide to the public, “said the prime minister.

Read here: Full list of Cabinet Ministers.

Other innovations will become evident as the new Cabinet portfolios are revealed.

Accordingly, the new look of Cabinet of Ministers of Dominica and associated Parliamentary Secretaries (PS), shall be as follows:

Roosevelt Skerrit will serve as the Prime Minister as well as Minister for Investment and Governance

Dr. Irving McIntyre will serve as the Minister for Finance, Economic Development, Climate Resilience & Social Security

Dr. Vince Henderson will serve as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade & Energy

Senator Rayburn Blackmoore will serve as the Minister for National Security & Legal Affairs

Cassanni Laville will serve as the Minister for Health, Wellness & Social Services.

Melissa Poponne-Skerrit will serve as the Minister for Housing & Urban Development

Roland Royer will serve as the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue & Green Economy

Denise Charles will serve as the Minister for Tourism

Fidel Grant will serve as the Minister for Public Works, Public Utilities & Digital Economy

Miriam Blanchard will serve as the Minister for Labour, Public Service Reform, Social Partnership, Enterpreneurship & Small Business Development

Gretta Roberts will serve as the Minister for Culture, Youth, Sports & Community Development

Cozier Frederick will serve as the Minister for the Environment, Rural Modernisation, Kalinago Upliftment & Constituency Empowerment

Octavia Alfred will serve as the Minister for Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training & National Excellence.

Daren Pinard will serve as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour, Public Service Reform, Social Partnership Entrepreneurship as well as Small Business Development with specific responsibility for Entrepreneurship & Small Business Development

Jullan Defoe will serve as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue & Green Economy with specific responsibility for Fisheries & Blue Economy

Senator Oscar George will serve as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, Youth, Sports & Community Development, with specific responsibility for Youth & Sports.

Chekira Lockhart- Hypolite will serve as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Public Works, Public Utilities & Digital Economy, with specific responsibility for Public Utilities, Telecoms & Broadcasting

Dr Cassandra Williams will serve as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Health, Wellness & Social Services, with special responsibility for Seniors Security, Children at Risk, Gender Affairs & the Differently Abled

Fenella Wenham will serve as the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training & National Excellence, with specific responsibility for Education Reform & Human Resource Development

Darron Lloyd will serve as the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment, Rural Modernisation, Kalinago Upliftment & Constituency Empowerment with specific responsibility for Constituency Empowerment

LaKeyia Joseph will serve as the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue & Green Economy, with specific responsibility for Development of Community Agro Enterprises.

Senator Kent Edwards will serve as the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness & Social Services with particular responsibility for Community & Home Care.

It is my intention at the first sitting of Parliament, to nominate Joseph Issac to serve, for a second tenure, as The Honorable Speaker in the House of Assembly.

Furthermore, Senator Phillip Rolle will also be nominated as Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.

The 5th Government Senator in the Parliament of Dominica shall be Mr. Austelle Lockhart.

Additionally, he will, as Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, invite former Senior Minister, Reginald Austrie to sit in on, and serve as Special Advisor to the Cabinet of Ministers on Public Affairs and Community Relations. PM Skerrit stated that he believe that with so many new faces in the Government, we need someone who can keep members grounded in the wisdom of remaining fully connected at the constituency and community levels, and also to provide us with wisdom, and an interpretation of what the many persons that we serve are saying, and how they are responding to the actions and pronouncements of the Government.

In the same regard, I shall invite former Government Minister Dr. Kenneth Darroux to serve as Special Envoy, in the Office of the Prime Minister. He will attend meetings of the Cabinet on invitation. Among other responsibilities, he will have the 14 specific responsibility for Electoral Modernization. Dr. Darroux will interact with the many sectoral interests that will be engaged and consulted on this very important issue, as we ensure that Dominica has a modernized, efficient, electoral system.

Additionally, I have also invited former Minister of Government, Ian Douglas to serve as Dominica’s Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba. Cuba continues to be a very close and meaningful ally to Dominica along its pathway to development. In many respects Cuba is our first country of reference in times of need. Mr. Douglas shall be entrusted and supported in strengthening relations with this cherished friendly state and ally of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Former Minister of Government and Member of Parliament, Roslyn Paul has been a Cultural Icon in her own right. I have asked Ms. Paul to serve as Consultant to the Cabinet, and in particular to the new Minister in the Ministry of Culture, to advise on the creation of community based, tourism focused, cultural enterprises. There is more to Dominica than just our natural rivers, waterfalls and the like. We need to showcase our culture and unique expressions not only on selected calendar dates, but year-round in villages across the nation.

Visitors to Dominica and indeed residents and visitors of this country should be able to go somewhere on the island on a Friday or Saturday night and see a uniquely Dominica cultural exposition, reflecting what and who we are. Communities of the north, northeast and Kalinago districts will be specifically targeted for this program and  Paul shall be provided the necessary support to enable the execution of her assignment.

On this occasion, as well, I would like to announce the intended appointment of current Permanent Secretary in the Office of Prime Minister, Missi Henderson to the long vacant position of High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, with additional responsibility for Diplomacy, Trade, Investment and Diaspora Relations, in several neighboring European countries.

Former Secretary to the Cabinet, Steve Ferrol shall serve as Dominica’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States and as Ambassador to the United States of America.

Dr. Philbert Aaron – will be Permanent Representative of the United Nations and Mr. Avondale Paul will replace Ambassador Hubert Charles at our Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.

Moreover, we shall continue pursuing healthier relations with Dominica’s social partners. A new Ministry under Miriam Blanchard has been created for this. I have committed to more frequent engagement with trade unions, the private sector, opposition representatives, the church and other arms of civil and social society. We shall be a government for all and of all.

Anglina Byron

Published by
Anglina Byron

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