(CU)_Dominica is one of 31 small member-states of the Commonwealth. The country is highly vulnerable to effects of climate change and other external shocks like the pandemic. The Prime Minister of the Caribbean nation Hon Roosevelt Skerrit recently praised the Commonwealth Secretariat for its initiatives that have benefited Dominica in its response to COVID-19 and other crises.
During a recent meeting with the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland in the country’s capital Roseau, PM Skerrit expressed his gratitude for the role played by the Commonwealth Secretariat in building the digital economy in his country He went on to commend the Secretary-General in his address, for her stewardship under which his government was able to access vast networks and technical expertise available through the Commonwealth.
“Here in Dominica, we have certainly benefitted tremendously from your efforts on the finance side, including through support for debt management and resource mobilisation,” he said. “The Commonwealth Secretariat has really helped our business agenda as well. Something very new I’ve seen at the Commonwealth is connecting countries with the private sector, through which we have been able to benefit from the expertise and resources.”
Climate change is one of the critical challenges that is being faced by the Caribbean Island, which suffered from the damages caused by Tropical Storm Erika in 2015, followed by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The former caused losses equivalent to 90 per cent of Dominica’s annual GDP, while damages caused by the former amounted to 226 per cent of the annual GDP. The country’s economy was also not spared from the effects of the pandemic, which had a harsh impact its tourism industry. Lockdown measures and border closures severely affected the industry which accounted for more than a third of its GDP in 2019.
“Dominica has shown incredible fortitude in the face of external shocks, especially Storm Erica, Hurricane Maria and the COVID-19 pandemic. The story of Dominica’s recovery from these shocks is one of resilience, determination, regeneration and innovation,” the Commonwealth Secretary-General said during her visit, as he reaffirmed the Commonwealth Secretariat’s determination to support Dominica, the wider Caribbean and the whole Commonwealth.
“I am proud of the work we do in partnership, and I am confident that ever-deeper ties and collaboration can deliver even better results,” Scotland added. “I am grateful to the Prime Minister for his leadership and friendship. I look forward to our continued work together and look forward to seeing him again at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali next month.”