By Anthony W Astaphan, SC
The devastation and despair after hurricane Maria were mind-boggling. Many of us thought that the end had come. Experts were saying that Dominica was set back some 20 years.
Prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit thought differently. He put his wet shoes on and began the relief and recovery campaign on the morning of the September 18, 2017. Within days our prime minister flew to the United Nations (UN) and gave one of the greatest speeches ever from the podium. By the time the speech ended, the world was looking at us. Following this extraordinary performance many world leaders came to our shores.
It’s been two years since Maria and the recovery of our nation is nothing short of a miracle. A miracle made possible by the grace of God and remarkable leadership from prime minister Skerrit. No public servant was laid off. The promised double bubble was paid. Roads and infrastructure are largely rebuilt. We have more houses and homes repaired, and constructed climate resilient homes than any other Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member states.
Dominica is in the midst of a hotel and [eco]tourism boom. The deposits, savings and assets of the local banks and national credit union are the highest they have ever been. The private sector has reopened and in full competitive mode. Social Security has record numbers of contributories and contributions. Our citizenship by investment (CBI) programme has been the best in the world three years running creating a significant revenue stream. Poverty and unemployment are the lowest ever. Agricultural production is at the highest level ever.
The World Bank has funded the construction of the geothermal plant. The first wing of the new hospital has opened. Schools are functional. Dominica’s students have excelled. State College is now free. Tertiary education has been funded by the government so that no deserving student is left behind. In summary Dominica is now better off for full scale development in the next five to ten years than it has ever been.
We will become the first climate resilient country in the world. We are now the envy of the Caribbean. These successes are being achieved because leadership matters. It matters who is and/or becomes our next prime minister.
There however exists a real and existential threat to these successes and the dignified leadership and development of our land. This threat comes from men and women who deny the existence of fact, and are hell-bent on destruction, deception and violence. At the least, the threats of civil commotion and violence. These men and women seek an alternative planet on Dominica by daily robbing the people of the truth and facts.
They deny obvious facts and rely on fake news, calculators and assumptions as the new harbingers of reality and evidence. They say nothing is happening. They focus on the CBI programme just like terrorists or warring nations focus on oil wells. It’s all about destruction. This poses a real and present danger to all that has happened since Maria, and what lies ahead. This danger is compounded by the past record in public office between 1995 and 2000.
Dominica deserves better. Indeed, Dominica and Dominicans must demand that the country be given the fullest opportunity over the next five to ten years to continue this glorious recovery; and to breathe in peace, politically cleansed of those who seek and do nothing for country except, deceive and threaten civil commotion, riots and threats of the same.
This is why elections matter. This election is critical to the recovery and development of Dominica. The progress must continue unhindered by a leader and party who ate yet to give is a defining moment, who can show they are competent, qualified, committed and honest to lead Dominica to a stage of life and living, never before within the contemplation of those who came and went before us.
September 19, 2019 is a day of prayer. Dominica needs prays to remove the evil spirits in our midst.
Dominica also need prayers for its protection, for a prosperous future and for its children. While we pray, the destructive forces will advocate demonstrations or some commotion to give credence to their dishonest machinations.
Nevertheless, we pray for them. We must, because it was Jesus Christ who said, “Father forgive them for they know what they do,” and forgive them we must until election day, when we vote to put Dominica first, to protect it from all threats and for our children for generations to come.