Dominica Last Week: Top five stories you may have missed
By Ronda Luke
Douglas Charles runway to be extended
Although Dominica has begun construction on an international airport, plans are underway to expand the runway of the island's current airport, the Douglas Charles Airport.
Tourism Minister Denise Charles stated at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Barbados that the move will entice additional carriers to Dominica.
"What we are currently doing is embarking on a project to expand our runway, so we will be able to attract many other airline partners to the destination like Delta and JetBlue," she explained.
American Airlines recently announced direct flights from Miami to Dominica. Charles believes the success of such a move will encourage other carriers to expand flights to the island.
"We are having advanced conversations with many other airlines," she said. "So, hopefully, we will be having more nonstop service to the destination shortly."
Further action to establish a new university
International Agency for Accreditation and Rating (IAAR) site visitors met with Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and members of his cabinet to examine areas of cooperation between the Dominican government and the American Canadian School of Medicine.
Trustees, Ambassador Hubert Charles; Dr Andrew Padmos, former CEO of the Royal College of Canada; Dr Bob Sokol, former President of the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Wayne State University Academy of Scholars; and Arvin Bagherpour MD, Chairman; Carey James, President; and Ramin Ahmadi MD, Dean of the American Canadian School of Medicine participated in the discussion. Officials of the American Canadian School of Medicine Board of Directors presented the school's plans for growth and expansion. They are committed to the highest standards of academic quality and rigour.
Prime Minister Skerrit stated his unwavering support for the university and its aim of providing high-quality medical education to students from the Commonwealth of Dominica and other countries.
During a press conference last week, he reiterated that the university would begin operations in Dominica this September.
According to the Prime Minister, enrollment will increase during the spring semester in January 2024.
Athanaze and Hodge were selected for the West Indies squad for three ODIs against the United Arab Emirates
Two Dominican cricketers have been selected for the West Indies Cricket squad to play against United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Sharjah. West Indies Cricket announced on Thursday that Alick Athanaze and Kavem Hodge would form part of the team for the matches on June 5, 7, and 9.
Lead Selector for the West Indies team Desmond Haynes said the matches would give the cricketers the opportunity for exposure on the international level.
According to West Indies Cricket, the matches will also form part of the preparations for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 Qualifiers in Zimbabwe. The two Dominicans were not named for the Qualifiers.
Athanaze has been dubbed "the little magician from Dominica" by West Indies Cricket and labelled as the rising star in West Indies cricket by the International Cricket Council.
He was also selected for a 15-member West Indies team to face South Africa in two-Test Series in February and March this year.
Hodge has played with St Lucia Zouks, Combined Campus & Colleges (CCC), UWI CaveHill Blackbirds, Dominica Senior Team, Windward Islands Volcanoes, and West Indies under 19 teams. He has been the lead scorer in many regional competitions.
In December 2020, he was named to the West Indies squad for their Test series against Bangladesh.
PM Skerrit to institute national task force on education reform in Dominica
Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, plans to institute a national task force to lead Dominica's education reform process.
His comments came following what he described as" a constructive discussion "between government officials and secondary school principals on Monday, during which the current state of the education system was discussed, and strategies to improve it were formulated.
"We discussed key issues [such] as the quality of primary and secondary education, the importance of parental involvement, the need for a more holistic approach to education, and the various challenges faced by teachers and students," Skerrit pointed out.
"I took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of understanding students' behaviours and adapting teaching methods to cater to our students' different learning styles, abilities, and interests."
The Prime Minister said that he also took the time to reinforce his call to a return to civic education "as a way of instilling national pride, discipline and a sense of duty and responsibility among our young Dominicans." He said the principals made several recommendations during the meeting, including revisiting the national curriculum, reallocating resources for teacher training and education, and improving accountability within the education system.
According to him, Monday's meeting was an essential step towards education reform on the island.
At an April regional symposium on crime in Trinidad, Skerrit told Heads of Government that he believes education reform is essential as the Caribbean faces a surge in violent crimes.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning, he also stated that when he assumes the chairmanship of CARICOM in July, education reform will top his agenda.
Dominica to undertake soil mapping project aimed at reducing vulnerabilities to impacts of climate change
The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica Ministry of Public Works, Public Utilities and the Digital Economy has entered into a contract with the National Commodities Management Services Limited (NCML) Remote Sensing Instrument (RSI) (Joint Venture) – India for the Development and Analysis of the National Soil Mapping System".
NCML/RSI will be on the island partnering with the critical stakeholders, primarily the Divisions of Agriculture, Forestry, Dominica State College and others, during its 45-6 day exercise.
The soil mapping project aims to collect various soil samples across Dominica, which will allow for the development of predictive models on soil properties across the island. From these models, land use interpretations for each landscape can be determined to provide a baseline for evaluating the impacts of management practices across various sectors such as agriculture, land use planning, engineering, forestry, and water resource management, among others.
The soil mapping project is being implemented under the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP) through grant funding from the World Bank. It will be executed and completed by October 2023.