Kent Vital: Dominica was economically fragile before Hurricane Maria
It is clear that Government's long-term vision and visioning process and the medium-term plan that should be related to the long-term vison is deficient or inadequate or is not properly conceptualized, said Kent Vital, the political leader of the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) in a response to the national budget that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit presented in late July.
"The budget is very much like past "scatter shots" budgets, but this time in the budget presentation, the government pretends that this budget will be in support of its intention to make Dominica a climate resilient country, which in any event is ill-conceived," Vital said. "It is clear to me that the budget presentation intends to deceive the people of Dominica and the plans presented are not sustainable and lacks creativity".
Vital said he has observed that "the government is using Maria as an excuse for their non-performance!"
He said before Maria Dominica was already economically fragile because tourism was already weak and struggling to get off the ground in any significant way; agriculture was in the doldrums; proposed production of geothermal energy was already taking the government long to get off the ground and the commercial sector was already weak.
"What exactly did it (Maria) set back? It is more appropriate to say that Maria made things worse than they already were, rather than to give the impression that Maria destroyed something great!" Vital said.
He said Hurricane Maria did cause much damage to Dominica's infrastructure and livelihoods but "if the government had been effective in creating a thriving and prosperous economy, if they had managed the CBI funds well, if they had an adequate disaster preparedness and response mechanism in place, if generally they were good economic stewards, then the country would have been better able to withstand Maria and would have been well positioned to spring back quickly".