Petite Savanne resettlement: developer calls for understanding
In a press statement, Dr Anthony Haiden, the developer of the Petite Savanne resettlement housing scheme has called for public support in Dominica for the project.
Here is the full statement:
The CEO of Montreal Management Consultants Est (MMCE), the firm leading a 'citizen by investment' financed rehousing programme in Dominica, has spoken of his pride in the project which will help thousands of displaced people.
Dr Anthony Haiden said his company wished to contribute to the wellbeing of Dominica and "give back" to a country where it operates business.
MMCE signed a contract with the Government of Dominica earlier this month to fund the construction of 315 residential units for the displaced residents of Petite Savanne following Tropical Storm Erica.
Dr Haiden spoke out after some questioned the selection of MMCE, a law firm that specialises in immigration and citizenship services, for a development project.
He explained that while MMCE is funding the project, a specialist engineering firm, CV Tec, has been appointed to project manage the development.
Dubai-headquartered CV Tec, chosen for its expertise and strong track record, will send a ten strong staff team to Dominica to project manage the development and performance by local contractors and subcontractors.
Dr Haiden insisted his company wished to assist the people of Dominica in the wake of the violent tropical storm by financing the rehousing upfront. He said MMCE would look to recover the costs via its own direct sales of CBI cases.
"We approached the government of Dominica to offer our help and support after the storm last August and have worked hard to accelerate the recovery and rebuilding of damaged communities," he said.
"Now we're facilitating the development of a whole new community to settle the displaced. We're covering the entire cost upfront to get the project started without delay. Our plan is to recover the costs via our own direct sales of citizen by investment cases via our firms.
"We were the only company that had the initiative, guts and resolve to front the money for this project."
Dr Haiden went on to explain that MMCE was developing the community without the use of any of CBI money prior to completion, describing it as a "calculated risk". MMCE will continue and complete the project irrelevant of any sales secured.
The government of Dominica carries no risk as it would render CBI concession upon the full completion of phases of the project, he explained.
He said: "It is curious why people would ever question such a project or our commitment to it when we have pledged to see it through to completion."
The clearing of the 49.6-acre site in Bellevue Chopin starts on July 1. The following week, an open bidding process for subcontractors will commence, with local firms given priority.
Construction is due to start in September in the hope of completing the work by the end of September 2017.
CV Tec will produce all the technical and workshop drawings as well as running the bidding process.
Dr Haiden said: "MMCE's role is simply to finance and market CBI beyond the process to recover the upfront cost, we are not involved in any technical aspects of the project.
"MMCE is attempting to contribute to the wellbeing of Dominica and give back to the country where we operate business.
"This is a fantastic deal for the government of Dominica and one that will bring great benefits to the people.
"The people of Dominica should celebrate the launch of this exciting project."
Acting prime minister of Dominica, Rayburn Blackmoore unveiled the plans at a press conference in mid-June, saying the aim was to develop a holistic plan to design modern communities in response to the needs of the people.
The government spent more than $2 million acquiring the site in Bellevue Chopin.
Speaking at the conference, Mr Blackmoore said: "I think it is worth underscoring that we take so many things for granted in this country, that the resettlement of people into new communities is a huge undertaking that every step has to be taken to get it right."
He added: "It is not something you can rush into."
Government representatives are meeting with the community of Petite Savanne over coming weeks to discuss the plans and get feedback.
The proposed designs put together by CV Tec for MMCE focus largely on residential needs with 87 per cent of the land given over to housing, 12 per cent for commercial use and one per cent for communal use.
The development will include a community centre, farmer's market and cemetery. There will be 315 residential units, 42 commercial units and three communal units/structures.
A timeline of how the project is expected to progress:
July 1 – clearing the site
July 15 – bidding process concludes
August 1 – mobilization of the project management team and selected contractor
September 1 – construction work starts
September 30, 2017 – expected date of completion