ROSEAU –– Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said the rehabilitation of the West Coast road funded by the Chinese government is a major contribution to Dominica.
He was speaking at the signing ceremony of Letters of Exchange between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica for the of the West Coast Road Post Erika rehabilitation project, held at the Financial Center on Thursday.
“This is going to be in any currency a major investment in Dominica,” he said. “The reconstruction of the three bridges, construction of retaining walls and associated works is a major contribution to us.”
Skerrit mentioned the assistance given by China after the passage of Erika in late August last year.
“The Chinese government, from the moment the storm affected us, China was one of the first countries to be literally on site in respect to its offer of assistance to Dominica,” he noted.
He mentioned further that even before Dominica asked for assistance after the storm, China had already offered it.
Skerrit said this is the type of relationship that Dominica enjoys with the People’s Republic of China.
“They have continued to be very sincere friends of Dominica and every single commitment the Chinese government has made to us in Dominica, they have kept those promises…,” he noted. “In many instances, they have gone beyond the commitments made to us.”
Minister for Public Works and Ports, Miriam Blanchard explained the road project will include the following: replacement of bridges destroyed at Macoucherie, Batalie and Pointe Ronde, reconstruction of drainage infrastructure at Mero, Macoucherie, Salisbury, Coulibistrie, Batalie and Picard in Portsmouth, repair of damaged sections of the road surface in identified areas, including the Jimmit PetroCaribe junction, Tarreau, St Joseph, Mero, Macoucherie, Salisbury, Bioche and Dublanc, replacement of traffic signs, road markings and reflective road studs will also be included.
Blanchard stated that the government of China has been, and continues to be, a true friend to the government and people of Dominica.
“And I say this because history has shown that the government of China has never hesitated to offer assistance to us, not only when disaster strikes, but also in normal times,” she noted.
Meantime; Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Dominica, His Excellency Li Jiangning said parts of China are also prone to heavy rain and floods, “so we share the pain that you felt when Erika passed.”
He said also that the Chinese government gave high priorities in assisting Dominica following Tropical Storm Erika.
“We managed to provide grant aid of US$300,000 within 72 hours and additionally US$200,000 a few weeks later,” Ambassador Jiangning stated.
He indicated that the project is new one in line with the New Hospital Project and the Roseau Valley Bridge Project.
According to Jiangning, this shows the deep friendship and cooperation that exists between Dominica and the People’s Republic of China.
He said China will continue to support Dominica in its economic and social development.
“We will soon be entering a new phase of the project…much remain to be done, cooperation will be very important throughout the whole process,” he noted. “The two sides will continue to work closely together to bring the project to a successful start and eventually a successful completion.”
No time was given for the commencement of the project.