This island, this blessed land that boasts of our ancestral heroes like Jacko and of the lavish flora and fauna which is home to the Sisserou parrot, stands resilient against all threats and ill will, as we glide our way into the New Year. Fellow Dominicans, blow as hard as they could, but not even the demons of climate change could bend or break the masts of Waitukubuli as she sails over the horizon and into 2018.
The year 2017, was marked as one of the worst in recent Dominican memory. That date September 18, 2017, is indelibly etched in the memories of every Dominican, as the most catastrophic in terms of natural disasters. In the year 2017, not only did we bear the brunt of the excruciating impact of the climate crisis, but we also witnessed more divisiveness especially in the political and social realms. Sadly, such bitterness persists post-Hurricane Maria and seemingly refuses to bury its ugly head.
Fellow Dominicans, whether you are at home or in the Diaspora, let us take just five minutes towards the very close of 2017, to remember the loss of our loved ones, as they perished by no fault of theirs from the wrath of what is termed the most savage storm to ever befall Dominican shores. The loss of over fifty-five souls and the bodily injuries to countless others have materially impacted our progression. We’ve May have been knocked down but not out. Diaspora, your efforts were exemplary. To those at home, we wish to congratulate everybody who have been working tirelessly post Maria to build up communities Islandwide. Let us be thankful for the life and breath that the Almighty has given us and for the chance to start a year afresh. The time is here to say “Out with the old, In with the new”. Let us be thankful that we are given the opportunity to write ourselves a new story on a brand new slate.
To all our island brothers and sisters, to the defense force units from Jamaica, Trinidad, and Tobago, Barbados; and to the Special Services Units from St. Vincent and all the islands that expeditiously responded to our desperate pleas in what seemed to be our darkest hour, an eternal thank you! To the international aid agencies, local NGO’s and the militaries of Holland, America, France and Great Britain, we are forever in gratitude to your services provided. Thank You to our Dominica Police Force officers, Fire Brigade heroes, Medical staff, Teachers and other unsung heroes, who make an effort every day to ensure our safety and security. Indeed, a rare occasion for a meaningful dialogue on Middle East peace occurred when members of IsraAID and the Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA) partook in a joint disaster relief operation in the north of the island. We happen to know that both sides knew of each other, but cast aside their differences to embrace a higher, more noble cause. We are humbled.
We, the People’s Party of Dominica (PPOD), are solution providers, change-makers and professionals in our fields. For several years, PPOD has been appealing for Climate Change awareness policy in Dominica. Eerily, one week before Maria, struck, PPOD, wrote an article titled “PPOD expresses concern over climate change,” in local and regional publications. In fact, PPOD was so concerned of the inactions by the government that the Progress Leaders had initiated discussion with international NGO’s and foreign governments, in anticipation of the need that would arise if Dominica were to be struck by a serious storm. As a result of the forethought of PPOD Progress Leaders, search and rescue teams were immediately brought to our soil, countless relief and recovery aid landed at our shores, and millions of US dollars of medicine and medical supplies flooded the Hospital Supply room. P-POD’s Progress Leaders played an instrumental role in the large number of lives saved and the immediate response received in Dominica. Due to the foresight of our Progress Leaders we are able to analyze and anticipate, plan and be proactive so that when the time arrives, we will be able to chart our beloved island through the choppy waters of uncertainty, despair, and retrogression. P-POD puts Dominicans first. This is in sharp contrast to the absence of planning and preparedness on behalf of the DLP led government which was exposed by Tropical Cyclone Maria. PPOD progress Leaders questions the lack of action of the authorities in the hours leading up to Hurricane Maria making landfall. Nothing was done by this government to mitigate the risks and reduce exposure to potentially life-threatening conditions. This is particularly egregious in light of our recent experience with Tropical Storm Erika. The DLP led government was negligent at best in its duty to protect the citizens of Dominica from harm.
2018 is shaping up to be even more important as we seek to answer, Who do we want to be as a nation, as a people moving forward. PPOD is the party that has the leadership with the capacity and capabilities to lead Dominica through this process. We are in possession of a map, a plan of action, one which we will use to steer Dominica into the seas of sustainable economic development; show respect for the climate through implementation of environmental protection laws; and the ratification of regulation to ensure fair working and living conditions for all Dominicans. Can we count on your support to help make Dominica the greatest island nation? Can we count you in, as we need all hands on deck?
Bothers and sisters, we have a responsibility to ensure that the course our beloved Dominica is on, is not set by following the wrong star. As 2017 comes to a close, we note the deplorable political state of affairs, that continues to plague our country. Under the current ruling administration of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) under Roosevelt Skerrit, Dominica is yet to make significant strides in terms of good governance, transparency, and accountability. Some cases in point: we, the people are yet to get the report on the findings of the investigation of the alleged coup attempt against the government in February of 2017; we are yet to get the findings from the investigation of the weapons and ammunition found on the port in September of the previous year; we are yet to get a full account of proceeds from passport revenue, gross and net, for the past five years; we are yet to get a fully executed National Energy Plan over $70 million later; we are yet to get any laws passed in parliament concerning the climate crisis since the signing of the Paris Agreement; we are yet to see the DLP led government taking any action to include All Dominicans in the recovery and rebuilding efforts post hurricane Maria; we are yet the “Greenest Economy in the Caribbean region” as promised five years ago; and the queries into apparent malfeasance, and open and suspected corrupt practices seems inexhaustible. All the Dominican public continues to get from this DLP led government is more hoax and failed plans, policies, and programs year after year after year. One certainty remains – positive change is ahead with PPOD. The old modus operandi shall be swept away, as waves of innovation and compassion, development and mutual respect embrace and carry us into a new and prosperous era.
The great news is that every day, more and more Dominicans are waking up and realizing that our democracy, the values that we hold as a people, and our human dignity are rights worth fighting for. PPOD’s Progress Leaders are the ones to inspire our generation and future generations, to rise up, take positive action and stand for our rights and the idea of opportunity for all.
As we sail into the New Year, you will continue to see the PPOD wave growing. We need each of you on board to help deliver true prosperity to all families in Dominica.
Fellow Dominicans, brothers, and sisters, may the Almighty bless and guide us into the New Year, 2018. May all your good wishes be manifested not only in the New Year but continually throughout.
The People’s Party of Dominica Progress Leaders would love to take this opportunity to wish one and all, a very Happy and a Prosperous New Year!
MAY GOD BLESS DOMINICA