Listen

On her first day as Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland launched the rehabilitation project for the Victoria Memorial Building.

The Old Library Building will be transformed into the Dominica Disaster Resource Centre.

The ceremony was held on the compound of the Roseau Public Library on April 1.

As International Disaster Relief Coordinator post Tropical Storm Erika Baroness Patricia Scotland raised the funds for the rehabilitation project.

The centre is expected to serve as a hub for disaster awareness, reconstruction, resettlement, social services, and private sector information and updates for visiting missions, consultants, experts, volunteers, NGO's, and the general public and due to its strategic location and historical significance, it will also serve as a tourist information centre.

"One hundred and fourteen years ago, almost to this very day, the Victoria Memorial Building was opened and it was a hugely symbolic movement because it was the first public building in Dominica. But like a lot of things that are the victims of their own success, the Library quickly became oversubscribed and so it was extended with a marvelous new building some three years later," said John McAslan, the UK based architect assigned to the project

McAslan said the building will become a focus of discussion, debate of design and implementation of best practice reconstruction in Dominica.

"So it serves a hugely important function for the future what better a place than this great historic building to look forward and to serve Dominica to give this country the most positive future following the devastating Erika," he said.

McAslan added that the centre will also serve to demonstrate the best practices by using the very best examples of best practice repair technics will become an international example for green restoration.

Meanwhile, Baroness Patricia Scotland said Dominica is vulnerable to several natural disasters and therefore "we have the capacity to lead to world in terms of crafting solutions for those problems."

"We have the opportunity to put together a holistic plan for our whole island but if we are to succeed it will take every single citizen…we will need your understanding of our country, we will need your understanding of our history so that when we build back better, we build back better together as Dominicans," she said.

She said the project will be her last initiative as the International Disaster Relief Coordinator since she took up her new position as the Secretary General of the Commonwealth.


Listen