Budget Day, Kirdisha Laronde, Cuban students, Boarding School programme and Emancipation Day celebrations
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The government of Dominica has announced that the date for the Budget address will be 28th July 2021. In the communique sent last week from the Office of the Prime Minister, the public was informed that the budget for the Fiscal Year 2021/22 will be presented for Parliament's approval and to appropriate an amount of $993.6 million from the Consolidated Fund. Of this amount, $438.9 million is allocated to the Government's Public Sector Investment Programme. In this year's Public Sector Investment Programme the Government will advance projects geared towards the continued diversification and transformation of the economy. The development of the International Airport will feature as the single most prominent project, with an estimated expenditure of $75 million.
Kirdisha Laronde, the 14 year –old whose family members and the police have been in search of for over two weeks, has returned home. Before her return home on July 15, the mother of the teen, Catherine Seraphin, appealed for the assistance of the public in locating her daughter who was last seen on Wednesday 30th June 2021. According to the mother of the Wesley High School student, who resides in Stockfarm, upon her return sometime after 5:00 pm, her daughter informed her that she was with friends in the neighbouring community of Tarish Pit. Laronde has since been taken to the Dominica China Friendship Hospital (DCFH) for evaluation and is a patient there while investigations into this matter continue.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Octavia Alfred has revealed that Dominican students who are studying in Cuba are not affected by ongoing protest action in that country. Cubans have taken to the streets in cities across the country over the last week, in a wave of rare public protests to express their frustration with rising prices, falling wages, the United States embargo and the failings of the island's long-standing communist government to address its economic challenges. In light of the civil unrest, Alfred highlighted that her ministry has been in contact with Dominica's resident Ambassador to Cuba, Matthew Walter, to determine the status of Dominican students there. She says the ministry has also communicated directly with several students and their parents and has been assured that all students are safe and well.
The Marigot Development Corporation (MDC), has secured financial awards of EC$3.7 million for nine students, through its US Study Programme – The Boarding School Section. The nine-year-old programme, which has placed 79 students in US private boarding schools, targets students under 17 years old, who meet the criteria for acceptance. The programme's 2021 cohort who will be transitioning to boarding school is Dominique Williams, Tyrique Jean Jacque, Ciara Jean Jacque, Nisani Mendez, Bibliana Thomas, Hilary N. Lawrence, Adiele Charles, Patrick Phillip Jr and Zaira Henry.
African dress days, a culture night and a lecture on reparations by Dr Damien Dublin are some of the highlights of this year's Emancipation Day Celebrations which will run from July 16- August 1st, 2021. The event which is being held under the theme: "Afro-Artistic" will put into practice the much-talked-about call for unity," says Acting Minister of Sports, Culture and Community Development Senator Oscar George. The activities will close on August 1st, Emancipation Day with a celebration that will take place at the Hampstead Estate, "celebrating freedom from slavery through cuisine, art, craft, drama, music and dance."