Creating a cruise ship village
One opportunity to REBUILD DOMINICA BETTER is in the tourism sector one of the more promising areas for development (benefits in financial, foreign exchange, employment, development of natural sites for Dominicans' OWN enjoyment, etc.) based on my own limited involvement in the sector as the CEO/Coordinator of the registered Dominica Eco-Tourism Association. Unfortunately, the latest related survey gives Dominica very low ratings by cruise ship visitors! We may LOSE the benefits altogether. How do we get higher visitor ratings?
The basic RDB recommendation is to implement construction of an alternative to the present cruise ship terminals at the Roseau and Woodridge Bay ports (source of the current visitor dissatisfaction!) - And as proposed in the most recent TOURISM MASTER PLAN
I referenced the recommendation of the 2013 Report by CHL Consulting entitled "Dominica Tourism 2022 – The Way Ahead" in putting forward this suggestion. The recommendation, while accepted in principle by the state authorities as a good suggestion, appears to have been put on the back burner because of the huge cost, ND there being perhaps more urgent priorities for the government. Post-Erika, however, and RDB, there is now a time-sensitive opportunity for the acquisition of the necessary funds on a GRANT basis.
THE JUSTIFICATION FOR AN ALTERNATVE PORT IS CLEAR: The Roseau Cruise ship port creates a cramped, generally unruly and unpleasant situation not only for the cruise ship visitors but also for local Dominicans who are inconvenienced by traffic re-routing resulting in vehicular congestion particularly at peak traffic hours and the barred use of much of the Bay Front when cruise ships are docked in Roseau. The Woodridge Bay port for docking cruise ships is also considered very unappealing and unsafe because of the mix with commercial cargo. Hence the need to pursue a new and dedicated cruise ship port and cruise village - with the Canefield/Donkey Beach area identified /recommended by the CHI consultants pending a detailed feasibility study.
The advent of the destructive passage of TS Erika makes, ironically, the possibilities now more attractive to secure major funding for both feasibility studies and actual construction because of the empathy from all over the world for Dominica in making a sustained effort to get things right. It provides a golden opportunity to solicit "support" funds in targeted sectors that promise DEFINITE economic benefit to the country,
Institutions likely to be interested in financially (and otherwise…) contributing to this major upgrade of Dominica's tourism facilities could include, for example, the World Travel Association, the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Assn, Caribbean Tourism Organization, UN Development Agencies, etc, The efforts of Baroness Scotland to attract major funding for Dominica is also an opportunity for some of these funds to be "invested " in such a strategic development project like the proposed Cruise ship port and vender Village, built also to accommodate the new "mega- size" cruise ships!
I end with this quote from the late Justice TELFORD GEORGES "We believe it to be indisputable that the smallest and weakest within the international community, those with the least political clout, are among the ones who are likely to suffer most and whose special vulnerabilities are likely to go unnoticed and un relieved for the longest time. We believe there are compelling obligations that derive from these realities: obligations on the international community and of course, obligations that fall on small states themselves. All concerned must acknowledge and begin to fulfill these obligations."