Dominica Last Week: Top Five Stories You May Have Missed
By Ronda Luke
PM remains tight-lipped on Government's confirmed nominee for president
Despite Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit's announcement that his Government has decided on a nominee to replace His Excellency Charles Savarin when his second five-year term expires on October 1, 2023, the Government is choosing to remain tight-lipped about who this individual is.
According to Skerrit, the Government has decided on a nominee from among the various names considered. He will meet with Leader of the Opposition Jesma-Paul Victor in June to discuss the Government's nominee for the country's ninth president.
Furthermore, he revealed he would make a statement to the public following consultation with Mrs Paul-Victor.
"That is, if the leader of the Opposition and myself agree on one nominee," Skerrit explained. "She may have people; I don't know. If she doesn't, and she agrees with my nominee, then the Constitution speaks to the process. But, on the other hand, suppose she disagrees with my nominee and has somebody she nominates, in that case, the Constitution prescribes the process of electing a President."
The Prime Minister assured the public that he believes the entire country will be pleased with the person identified to fill the position of President of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
RUBIS officially returns
The Barbados-based RUBIS West Indies Limited resumed selling its products in Dominica after suspending operations in September last year amid concerns that it was being forced to subsidise the local market for petroleum products.
"We are happy to announce that effective Monday, May 15, we will be resuming sales, and I want to take this opportunity to thank the Honourable Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, also thank the Honourable Vince Henderson (Minister of Renewable Energy) and the people in the Ministry of Trade," said country manager, Nicholson Dodds.
Dodds stated in September that Rubis, which has operations in the Eastern Caribbean and Guyana, was "forced to subsidise the market" due to the Ministry of Trade's pricing scheme.
"What I mean by that when you import a gallon of product, assuming that the landed cost here is ten dollars, the price build-up starts at, let's say, nine dollars. So that for every gallon we are selling, even before the product gets to the market, we are losing money.
"We have made repeated approaches to Government, and the Government is quite aware of it. Finally, in 2021, the Government made some concessions to us. They promised they would get back to the table in the first quarter of 2022 came, and we made several attempts to meet with the Government, we wrote to the Government, and we are still waiting," he said then.
Dodds expressed satisfaction with the outcome of "the constructive dialogue that we had over the past few months...so that we could have arrived at a meaningful resolution to this matter" on state-owned DBS radio.
"As you are aware, we suspended sales on September 15 because we were experiencing some heavy losses, and we promised that once amends were made to the price build-up, and we can stem those losses, we would return to the market."
"So I am happy to announce that those amends were made to the price build-up, and we are resuming sales," he told radio listeners, "We are thanking the Dominican public for their patience while we suspended sales".
While he gave no details of the new arrangement, last year, Dodds had noted that if a product is bought and the landed cost into Dominica is EC$10 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) and "you have to sell it less than the landed cost, you are making losses even before the product get out there into the market.
DOWASCO rate increase coming soon
Consumers of water supplied by DOWASCO will soon be digging deeper into their pockets as a rise in the rate of the precious commodity is coming.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit revealed that the corporation, which the Government extensively subsidises, has written to the Government and sought a rate rise and that the ideas are being considered.
He explained the reason for the hike by saying, "DOWASCO is spending more than it is making for water."
"So the water DOWASCO brings to your home is being heavily subsidised, and I think we need to bring it to a level that makes more sense to us, water consumers," he continued.
He clarified that there will be a rate increase, although the company proposes a different rate.
According to Skerrit, for the last several months, the Government has been paying DOWASCO "a significant sum" of subsidy for water. In addition, it has been helping the company pay for its loans.
"DOWASCO has to repay its loans, and we have been paying DOWASCO's loans for the last year and a half," he remarked.
He did not give a timeline for when the new rates will come into effect but said the public would be consulted.
DCFH gets new CEO
The Board of Directors of the Dominica Hospitals Authority has announced the appointment of Ms Nancy Francis as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dominica China Friendship Hospital (DCFH) by the Government of Dominica.
Francis, who was given a two-year contract and assumed her duties on May 8, replaces Dr Dexter James, who held the CEO position from the start of 2021 on a two-year contract but tendered his resignation from the health facility in July 2022.
According to a release from the board, among the St. Lucian national plans are improvements to patient-centred care, quality of service and patient safety; human resource management and transition arrangements; corporate communications and publicity; corporate governance, public trust and confidence.
Jemmott to replace Baptiste as FLOW Dominica New Country Manager
FLOW Dominica has announced a leadership change, with Ms Sharon Jemmott taking the helm as Country Manager effective June 1, 2023.
She succeeds Jeffrey Baptiste, who has been with C&W for approximately 20 years and served as Country Manager of FLOW Dominica for the last 14 years. Baptiste is said to be leaving behind a legacy of strong leadership and has overseen the transformation of Dominica's telecommunications landscape, including the rollout of 4G and LTE mobile solutions.
Jemmott is a Barbadian national with extensive experience across the company's technical and commercial operations.