Fellow Dominicans, just over one year ago, Dominicans woke to the catastrophic impact of Tropical Storm Ereka. We were in shock and did not have immediate answers to how we would rebound from this disaster. But the region and the world came to our assistance, and with that support, we were able to get up, dust ourselves off and start the rebuilding of our beautiful island.
Today, the people of two sister Caribbean countries in particular, Haiti and The Bahamas, are in a similar situation, and, in the case of Haiti, far worse, as the death toll from the ravages of Hurricane Matthew is approaching 300 and expected to rise.
I am moved, as Prime Minister of Dominica, to step in and help, however we can, in minimizing the suffering of the people of Haiti and the Bahamas, in the first instance; as Hurricane Matthew is still an active system; impacting Florida’s East Coast at this hour.
I do not wish to delay Dominica’s response to this tragedy. I feel that as a grateful people, we have a duty to respond, without request!!
My thinking at this time, is rather than appeal to individuals and households across the nation – many of whom we know are themselves not in a position to give, again because of their own losses from Tropical Storm Ereka – I believe that on this occasion we should mobilize among the business community.
I would like for the management of businesses, employing 10 or more persons, to spearhead a Hurricane Matthew Relief and Recovery exercise within their individual establishments.
Contributions can be made in cash or relief supplies, and efforts should be coordinated with the Department of Emergency Management, Red Cross and Lions Clubs of Dominica.
So the formula I recommend is that individual management teams meet soonest, determine the nature of assistance they can and will give and communicate this to the Department of Emergency Management or other known and established charitable relief agencies.
I would like for us as a nation, to give ourselves one week from today, to despatch supplies to these hurricane ravaged countries.
So it’s primarily a private sector response we are seeking to garner, in the wake of this disaster across the region. Government will assist with the coordination and underwriting of the shipment of supplies to intended destinations.
I have already despatched letters to the leaders of Haiti and the Bahamas assuring them of our thoughts and prayers at this time, and pledging whatever assistance we can, in this, their hour of need.
I appeal to Dominican businesses now to step up to the plate. Act now on behalf of your employees and other fellow Dominicans. Let us respond today, as we were responded to….14 months ago.
I wish to say thanks in advance for your generous contributions.
May God Bless You all. May God continue to Bless and safeguard the beautiful island of Dominica.
I thank you