Minister responsible for Tourism and Urban Renewal, Robert Tonge has asked for persons and contractors to strictly follow building codes when rebuilding after Hurricane Maria.
Tonge, who was speaking at the daily press briefing held on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017, said by sticking to the codes, infrastructural damage may be lessened in the event of natural disasters.
“With regard to architecture and construction, I can say we have the expertise in Dominica and the diaspora, however, what is truly critical is the adherence to the building codes. We can no longer cut corners to save or use contractors who cut corners to increase their profits. Obviously we have seen any of these examples exposed by Maria, so we have realized that there were a lot of shortcuts taken which caused increased damage,” Tonge stated.
Cabinet he added have waived all duty and vat on the construction materials for approximately six months which will lessen the cost of rebuilding.
“The government also, since Tropical Storm Erika, has a fast track mechanism for approving duty free concessions for businesses inclusive of the tourism sector. Training our staff continues to be high on our agenda and we look forward to partnering with you and investing more in this area,” he said.
Meanwhile he said his ministry has begun to work on the main tourists sites which were greatly affected by Hurricane Maria. He noted that the ministry hopes to get these sites to a state of readiness, for when the country is ready to welcome visitors to its shores.
“We won’t be a hundred percent ready but we also have to ensure that we can begin welcoming visitors to our island once we have the necessary pieces in play, the necessary facilities in place persons can go the sites safely, all our roads are clear. Most of our roads are partially cleared, however we have to totally clear them so that when persons come to Dominica, they will feel safe and secure,” Tonge added.