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Dominica Red Cross (DRC) is now in search of a new Director General (DG) after Kathleen Pinard-Byrne, the DRC-DG for 25 years, resigned over growing criticism and discontent among staff.

Jamaican Dr. Jaslin Salmon, the acting DRC-DG until June30, 2018 said: "I am now here to reorganize and reinvigorate the Dominica Red Cross and I can also say to you that there is no doubt that the Dominica Red Cross had some serious problems.

"My job is to do a complete reorganization of the Dominica Red Cross from the low very level of the branches and membership to the level of the board. The International Federation of Red Cross-Red Crescent Society which is the mother body of all Red Cross is very concerned about what was happening in Dominica with the Red Cross and so I was sent to fixed the situation and fix I will do it," Dr. Salmon said.

He told the SUN that so far it's been interesting and exciting.

"I first came in December 2017 to do an assessment report on the Dominica Red Cross. I left, prepared my report and returned in January 2018 to do some work which will take me to June of 2018," he said.

Dr. Salmon said so far he has had extremely good reception and cooperation from Dominicans.

"The Dominican people are very interested in a well running and properly managed Red Cross Society...we are about the business of transparency and we will be doing everything transparently. The processes will be put in place before I leave and we will ensure that what happened before will never happen again in the Dominica Red Cross", Dr. Salmon said.

He continued: "I am in the process of bringing in new staff members and I will also be recruiting a Director General to replace me. We are also in the process of reestablishing the Red Cross branches across the island. I can tell you that already, we have met with people who are interested and they will go through the normal process of elections to hold offices and to take part in the national society since they will be part of the governance.

"It is my hope by around April or May we will have a general assembly which will elect a new board. I am presently scouting for potential board members. We need the best people to run the society which has the respect, complete respect, of all and that is what we are going to establish."

He added: "When I talk to people at all levels, they are interested in seeing a new face and a new environment…I am not here to stay; I came to do a job and I will get a very well-run national society going and then will hand over to my replacement but will come back periodically.

"It is important that we get the respect of our supporters and donors…we won't if we run the organization like a little group on the streets. It has to be run like a business and professionally. Change is not easy and some people always try to resist change."

Dr. Salmon explained that the Dominica Red Cross is an auxiliary to the government.

"It is not a government agency, but it is quasi government because it exists because of an Act of the Dominica Parliament. The government had to pass an Act of Parliament to establish the Dominica Red Cross and therefore, we have an obligation by international law to do what it takes to establish the government in times of crisis and disaster. We know that we have not been doing as well as we need to do and so I want to say to the government, there is a new air around, a new attitude and whatever concerns which existed we want to say that that is whipped away and we are here to serve the needy and the needs of the government."

Dr. Salmon also confirmed that they have already serviced nearly six thousand families with relief supplies and are now through the relief stage and we are now into recovery.

"We won't be doing complete homes but doing roofs of about one thousand families. We have provided cash transfers to one thousand families and we are doing another phase of cash transfers of US$450.00 to fix their homes however they want and that is also going on well and we are pleased with that also," he said.


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