Five years after three west coast bridges were washed away by Tropical Storm Erika, their replacements have been formally commissioned.
The Batalie, Macoucherie and Point Ronde bridges were handed over by the Chinese Government on Monday.
The three critical connections were decimated when a tropical storm in 2015 cause waterways to flood across the island.
The west coast communities and road users were reconnected when temporary bailey bridges were installed.
Work began on the more permanent fixtures in March 2017 and was halted by Hurricane Maria some months later.
Completed in June 2020, the structures are now open to users.
“This road is very very important, it is a link between Roseau and Portsmouth. It is a road of the cooperation, the development and also of the friendship between China and Dominica,” commented His Excellency, China’s Ambassador to Dominica, Lu Kun testifying of the quality of the new bridges constructed by Chinese professionals with support from local skilled men.
China has been increasingly spotlighted as preying on small developing countries to expand its influence and Caribbean nations in particular have been advised not to accept support from communist countries like Cuba and the People’s Republic of China and socialist, Venezuela.
Hon Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit rebuked that on Monday saying, “You would have countries which would want to lecture us and to demand of us certain things but they are not part of our economic and social development.”
“Today we are here to commission three important bridges that would have cost the government a significant sum, more than likely by way of a loan.” He continued, “This gift to us means it will allow us to use these funds…otherwise for other economic and social development programs and projects. “
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit reemphasized, that Dominica will not renounce nations who contribute to its well-being.
“I think it is important that we in Dominica understand what we talking about when we speak about international relations and friendship.”
He said to Ambassador Lu, “Ambassador , words cannot express my personal thanks, that of the government as well as the people of Dominica for the extraordinary commitment of your government and its people.”
Hon Minister for Trade and Commerce, Ian Douglas commented at that event that Dominica’s history will indicate that the People’s Republic of China played one of the biggest roles in the nation’s development.