Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica, said that Hurrricane Maria had no political affliation or religious ties when it battered ‘the nature isle’ Monday night.
“Everyone, every street, every village, every crany on Dominica has suffered from this hurricane, and persons are dead while others are missing,” Dr. Skerrit said.
“Every single person has been affected by this hurricane and therefore, it is a message to all of us that we have to work together to rebuild our country,” he added.
The Dominican Prime Minister was at the time addressing the Dominican community that had gathered at the Dean William Lake Cultural Centre in Antigua yesterday for a meeting to discuss relief efforts for their homeland.
It was his first official outing since the passage of Hurricane Maria on Monday.
He said that relief from the international and regional communities is forthcoming, however, it will take years before the country will be able to rebound.
“It is my hope that we do not have any more deaths. Farmers recount to me they were at their homes, their roofs went, they went to shelter somewhere else and that roof also went, so there was very little escape,” Skerrit said.
He further explained that all Dominicans heeded the warning to seek shelter and most of those shelters were able to withstand the onslaught of Maria.
Skerrit also thanked the government of Antigua and Barbuda for its support in making yesterday’s visit possible, and he further expressed gratitude for Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment going forward.
Attorney General, the Honourable Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin and Tourism Minister, the Honourable Michaell Browne, were also on hand to address the Dominican community.
Benjamin said that the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda will be making US$300,000 available to the Dominica relief effort.
He also said that the country’s doors will be opened to Dominicans who may need to relocate to Antigua.
“Nothing beats love, nothing beats togetherness. We have been there before and we will be there again,” Benjamin said.
In another show of generosity, Tourism Minister, the Honourable Asot Michael, and the immediate Michael family, also pledged a personal contribution of US$100,000 to the government and people of Dominica.
Minister Michael said that Prime Minister Skerrit was the first Prime Minister within the region to
visit Antigua and Barbuda and to pledge his support in the Barbuda rebuilding effort.
“We recognise there is a strong bond of friendship between the people of Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda that has stood the test of time. We understand the challenges that they are facing, and will face in the days ahead, and we are committed to supporting the government and the people of Dominica, as they seek to rebuild their nation,” the minister said.