DFP political leader Kent Vital
DFP political leader Kent Vital

As a people we boast Dominica's rivers, mountains, greenery, fertile land and the other natural gifts. We are proud of our isle of beauty, an isle of splendour! Indeed we are dubbed the Nature Island of the Caribbean. We enjoy our land – the refreshing water; the fresh air, and fresh produce from our fertile land; things that undoubtedly contribute to the longevity of our people.
What a lovely life we share! We have a duty to preserve it for future generations!

All these attributes are resources which we also use for our earnings. Our farmers and fishermen earn a living from the land, rivers and sea and we invite tourists to enjoy this wonder that is Dominica!

To have the best possible quality of life, not only do we need to earn income (the economic dimension) and foster a socially cohesive society (the social dimension), we also need to maintain a healthy physical environment (the environmental dimension) that we continue to enjoy the direct pleasures and utility that we derive therefrom. It is the careful balancing of these three dimensions that will allow us to optimize our sustainable development objectives.

If we neglect the environment, we jeopardize our ability to earn. If we properly manage our cultural and environmental heritage there will remain immeasurable earning potential through tourism. We must direct all our efforts at making Dominica that special place that the world wants to visit! Much of what we need to do to ensure the sustainable management of our environment is interwoven with our everyday living! Keeping our rivers flowing would require us to properly manage our forests. This would also contribute to preserving the scenic drive to the interior of this beautiful land. Our scenic coastlines, special natural and historical attractions can be diminished by the unsightliness of the built environment, by litter and garbage dumped or left along roadways and by waste disposed of in valleys or over cliffs. The improper storage, collection or disposal of waste can result in unpleasant sights and smells that can be a turnoff to our visitors. There are environmental pollutants that we also have to be very vigilant at managing and some we need to eliminate. Our excessive use of chemicals in agriculture, as well as industrial and household cleaners, is likely having an adverse impact on our health. Our consumption of processed foods instead of the food we grow may already be having an adverse impact on our longevity! We must address all these issues in order to continue offering our country as a natural paradise and a beacon of healthy living.

We must adequately manage construction projects to ensure that they aesthetically complement our natural environment, ensuring that they are attractive, safe, hardy to the impact of natural hazards, efficiently with respect to the use of energy, and allows for adequate access to services including emergency services.

To minimize the impacts of adverse weather conditions and natural hazards, we must pay more attention to where and how we locate and build our homes, roads, bridges and other infrastructure; how and where we grow our food and carry out other economic activities; how we manage our waste.

Such factors which impact on the health our environment will be discussed in more details under this Column. Above we have given an indication of the kinds of challenges we must confront. These are many other elements we will get into across the categories of eco-systems management, rural and urban planning, wastes disposal and pollution control, disaster risk and climate change management.

In the first three articles under this Column, we sought to lay-out what the Dominica Freedom Party sees as the "big picture" foundation for pursuing sustainable development and we have broadly laid out the three dimensions for doing so. In future articles, we will go as much as possible into the details of positions and policies that a Dominica Freedom Party would pursue as we seek to build a better Dominica for all.

We recognize that all areas are important and sometimes getting the basics right are critical to achieving the upfront sustainable development results we want. So that's why along the way we will also speak about governance issues including the need for putting in place effective implementation systems and effective anti-corruption safeguards.

Stay tuned as we go places with Freedom.

Kent Vital

Political Leader