Sunday, 14th July 2024

Dominica: Assembly approves $41M for Roseau Enhancement Project

The Parliamentary Representative of Roseau Central, Melissa Skerrit, fully supported the loan tabled by Finance Minister Irving McIntyre during the House of Assembly on November 10, 2023.

Sunday, 7th July 2024

Assembly approves $41M for Roseau Enhancement Project

Dominica: The Parliament of Dominica has finally given approval to the US$41 million loan from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to fund the most anticipated Roseau Enhancement Project.

The Parliamentary Representative of Roseau Central, Melissa Skerrit, fully supported the loan tabled by Finance Minister Irving McIntyre during the House of Assembly on November 10, 2023.

Melissa Skerrit, who is also Dominica's Housing Minister, said that she aims to transform Roseau into a modern city and commercial hub.

"I fully support the approval of the US 41-million-dollar loan from the Saudi Fund for Development, and I am particularly excited about this long-awaited project," said Minister Melissa Skerrit. "This project has been in the pipeline for many years, but over the past few years, I was determined to get this off the ground so we can finally modernize our city of Roseau."

While explaining the significance of this project, she said that Roseau is the heartbeat and face of Dominica, which is why it must be able to mirror the breathtaking beauty that is found throughout the exquisite island.

Melissa Skerrit said that the goal is to breathe new life into the city by enhancing its aesthetic and appeal, fostering economic growth, and providing the citizens with a city they can be proud of.

Furthermore, she mentioned that the project will allow for the construction of new and covered drains, smooth sidewalks with benches, upgraded lights, widened roads allowing for more parking spaces and much more.

She also highlighted in front of the parliament that the 41 million from the Saudi Fund for Development comes with favourable terms, including an interest rate of 2.5%, an eight-year grace period, and a repayment period of 28 years.

"These terms will enable us to embark on a transformative journey for Roseau's Urban Development. We shall have a great spirit of 8 years before we start paying back anything on the interest and the principal," she added.
Minister Melissa Skerrit stated that the Labour Party has already achieved numerous accomplishments in the city. These accomplishments include:

- Modern and affordable housing options

- Construction of new homes and rehabilitation of several homes

- Construction of a stunning waterfront promenade

- Permanent jobs were created

- Dominica China Friendship Bridge, which opened doors for economic development

- Construction of the People's Park Playground – a recreational haven for the children and families

- Construction of a river bank defence wall to protect the city from flooding

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She further noted that the Roseau Enhancement project will elevate Roseau's appeal, attract more private investments, and boost tourism products. Using these funds, a multipurpose entertainment centre will also be built, becoming a cultural and recreational centrepiece in Roseau.

While mentioning the international airport, the minister said that maintaining a certain standard in Roseau is imperative as they proceed with the airport construction.

"Our city must be a must-visit destination for travellers, showcasing the best of what the country has to offer – a harmonious blend of historic preservation, business opportunity, and a thriving healthy living environment."

She said that this would result in more spending and increased household income, boosting the nation's overall prosperity.

"We know that the Roseau enhancement project will revolutionize the city by creating more space for commercial activities, encouraging more walking and increasing pedestrian traffic. It will also allow for better organization and additional parking spaces to alleviate some traffic congestion. " She added that these changes will result in numerous economic benefits and a thriving city poised for a brighter future.

She also cited that Roseau would become more accessible for older citizens and persons with disabilities.

"When it is completed, those with vision problems will be able to make their way through the city themselves. Someone on a wheelchair will be able to utilize a sidewalk from orchard all the way down to the west bridge," she said.

She further noted, "The mothers who have benefited from my single mother's program will be happy to utilize their baby strollers. And the ladies, of course, who want to strut the smooth ground with their heels will be happy that they can walk in confidence."

The motion was also favoured by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit who said that with the approval of this motion, the country will see the dynamic Dominica unfolding before their very eyes.

PM Skerrit said that following the procurement of the loan, his entire focus will be on the cruise ship village with new piers as well as a modern cargo port. He added that both the ports would be next to each other and hoped that Dominica could soon unveil those two projects in the nation.

In the end, he also expressed his gratitude to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for giving this loan and helping them enhance Dominica's capital city.