ROSEAU, Dominica, September 26, 2017 (CMC) – Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, said, today, he is negotiating with the World Bank for US$100 million, in loans and grants, to help the island undertake recovery work, following the passage of Hurricane Maria, last week.
Speaking at the daily news briefing, Skerrit said that the Washington-based financial institution has already agreed to 64 million dollars in loans and grants, “and I am negotiating for them to take it to 100 million dollars.
“They have asked me to come to Washington to further negotiate this package. I told them I would come if they will take it to 100 million; so we are trying to push them to take it to 100 million US dollars in a combination of grants and loans,” Skerrit told reporters.
He said that the island had received US$19 million from the Catastrophic Risk Insurance Policy and deposited at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), and that a number of governments and agencies have been making commitments, since the hurricane struck the island last Monday.
He sought to re-assure citizens that food supplies were being received and would be distributed, throughout the island, as he urged people with transportation to assist in getting the supplies to needy communities.
Skerrit said he was sending a letter to the University of the West Indies (UWI) urging that it does not take any action that would hamper the Dominican students there, from continuing to pursue their education.
“We will make arrangements to keep our commitments to the University of the West Indies. We are also informing the universities, especially in the United States, where we have a large number of students, to indicate to them that, once the financial system is up, we will keep our commitments to our students, so they can be at school.
“So I want all the students who are at universities, who have commitment letters from the government, do not let your heart be troubled, we will keep our commitments to you, so you can continue your education and, our hope and prayer is, that you come back to your country to help, once you have completed your studies,” Skerrit said.
He also urged people not to flock to the ports, here, seeking minor packages, indicating that the emphasis now is to get the major relief supplies moved, quickly, on arrival in Dominica.
“I believe, from next week, we can start receiving personal packages, where they can be sorted out, and your family and friends can get them. The last thing I want in this country, is for anybody to accuse the Customs, the Port and anybody else in the government system, of stealing their packages.
“We want to ensure that there are good government practices, with respect to the receipt and delivery of supplies to the people. My assurance to the people is that the supplies will be distributed in a transparent, accountable, equitable fashion,” he said, urging the public to disapprove of rumours that would be “flying left, right and center”.
“Let us remain positive, we have work to do. It is not easy, it is challenging,” he added.
During the news briefing, representatives from the various services, including water and telecommunications, provided updates on the progress to restore the services, as quickly as possible.