At an independence day rally- PM R. Skerrit
At an independence day rally- PM R. Skerrit

Fellow Dominicans, I extend heartiest congratulations as we celebrate our 44th anniversary of independence. We mark this milestone in our nation's history under the theme, "One Dominica, One People, One Vision," a clarion call to unite in the pursuit of growth and prosperity for all citizens. The theme implores us all to work with the singular purpose of building a more sustainable future for this generation and those who will come after.

There can be no doubt that we have experienced a period of adversity, occasioned by natural events and a difficult global reality, which have delayed aspects of our growth agenda. However, our spirit remains undaunted and we are making strides to achieve the development goals we have set for our country and people.

During a raging pandemic that disrupted livelihoods; threatened to crush economies, small and large alike; and caused the death of loved ones, the Dominica Labour Party Government, by God's grace, maintained the stability of our state.

We protected the livelihoods of public officers, extended financial support to ensure the survival and sustainability of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and secured access to life-saving vaccines and quality healthcare services for all citizens. Over one hundred and fifty entrepreneurs have benefitted from start-up capital to expand their businesses and create employment. The Government continues to invest heavily in our social safety net initiatives, providing stable incomes for hundreds employed through the National Employment Programme; and care, attention, and assistance to the elderly in safe, healthy spaces under the Yes We Care Programme.

From a broader perspective, our progress over the past forty-four years can be measured by the creation of full access to education at all levels; advances in infrastructure to boost primary healthcare services and help reverse the worrying trend of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNDCs); and the provision of safe, quality homes for the vulnerable and those displaced by natural disaster.

Our investments in our country's physical infrastructure are impressive within the context of our small economy- we are rebuilding and expanding our road network, improving air and sea ports, and making rapid progress with the construction of a geothermal plant to build energy security and bolster economic growth.

Our resilience efforts have yielded success with enhanced capacity at the community level to respond to disasters and the completion of regional emergency centers to boost shelter capacity and provide citizens with a safe haven during extreme weather events.

Our future prospects are encouraging. The Government of Dominica is committed to the construction of the international airport, which will stimulate trade, business and industry, tourism, and agriculture, and place our country on a growth trajectory. We are exploring new ventures in agriculture and agro-processing and creating access to regional and international markets for farmers and producers. To complement these efforts we are harnessing the interest and skills of young, eager entrepreneurs, who represent the future of the sector, by investing in their farming and agro-business enterprises. The dreams and aspirations of our youth are also captured with the Future Housing Programme to provide an affordable housing option for young professionals.

To consolidate our gains within a harmonious and stable environment, we will give attention to national security to strengthen law enforcement and promote a peaceful society.

Fellow Dominicans, given our experiences in recent times, there is much to be thankful for. By God's grace – we have turned the corner and are headed to a season of progress and prosperity for our nation. I ask you to support the national initiatives underway to secure a stable future and improve on the resilience of our people. Consider your role in the process of nation-building and act always in the best interest of your fellow citizens and our country.

I join you in the spirit of celebration as we reaffirm our duty to God and country.

May God bless us all.

Happy Independence Dominica.