A budget focusing on survival, excellence and resilience is being presented to Parliament ten months after Hurricane Maria caused EC$3.51bn damages to the island.
The category five storm wiped out 226 percent of the island’s 2016 gross domestic product forcing the state to rebuild and recover.
Budgetary estimates amounting to nine hundred and seventy-eight million, one hundred and one thousand, six hundred and twenty-five dollars for the financial year ending June 2019 is being presented to Parliament.
Finance Minister, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told Parliament while many thought that Dominica would fall apart as a result of the storm’s devastation, we have survived.
“They opined that no small island developing state with such a small population could rebuild from the level of devastation which Maria had visited upon our island,” he said.
“Many loudly and confidently predicted that Dominica would remain a social, environmental, economic and physical wasteland for decades and that our country would fall apart but we have survived,” Mr Skerrit stated.
Mr Skerrit, who was overcome with emotion, said as the events unfolded that night, he gave hope to citizens through social media letting them know “that in our darkest hour, they were not alone and that they remained by priority”.
He added that following Hurricane Maria, his government’s commitment to leadership did not allow them the luxury to stand in awe at what had taken place or resting from their own loss.
And while the international community and Caribbean region were generous in responding to Dominica, he noted that the impact of Hurricanes Maria and Irma was widespread and stretched the global response effort.
“It was clear to me that we had to be our own saviors and that the government I have the honor to lead had to craft a rescue vision and implement the rescue mission. With the grace of God, we have done that Madam Speaker and we have survived,” he stated.
The Finance Minister said given our circumstances of ten months ago, no one would have expected that a budgetary presentation would have been possible.
“Notwithstanding, the most dire of predictions Madam Speaker, I stand to deliver this budget and to say proudly that those who counted us out did not know the spirit of resilience and the strength of the people of Dominica, and they under-estimated the resolve and determination of this government to rebuild our country,” Mr Skerrit stated.
“And so today, this Parliament can join with all Dominicans to celebrate our survival as a people. Today we can testify to the mercy, grace and greatness of our God because against all odds, Madam Speaker, we have survived,” he added.