Picard can't toss Ross loss

The Sun revisited the compounds of Ross University School of Medicine at Picard in Portsmouth to assess how workers and tenants were coping after the University's exit in August 2018. We found a depressed place but support for the Dominica Labour Party inhibits most landlords at Picard from complaining about the departure of Ross and its impact on their livelihoods.

Haitian migrants have, somewhat, filled the vacuum but economic activity in Picard, Portsmouth have not revived to any extent.

"Picard was a ghost-town until the Haitians arrived," said Pat Corbette, a landlord at Picard said.

During the election campaign Prime Minister Skerrit said a new school had expressed interest in Picard. So far nothing much has happened.

Time Up! Civil Service Union Plans Protests

Inadvertently the Roosevelt Skerrit administration may have awoken the tiger of the Seventies, the Civil Service Association (CSA) that toppled the Patrick John Dominica Labour Party (DLP). At a boisterous, militant meeting the current members of the CSA, now known as the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) has threatened to cause major disruption of the status quo if its demands continue to be ignored.

"What you see today is the beginning of things to come," said DPSU general secretary Thomas Letang to thunderous applause from hundreds of civil servants who filled the large hall last Thursday at the DPSU headquarters on Valley Road, Roseau. "I repeat nothing is going to keep us back."

The issue was the commencement of salary negotiations and respect of the DPSU by the employer. The issue is still raging in December 2019.

Hard Bargaining

Negotiations for salary increases between government and the police also continued.

The Police Welfare Association (PWA) has said: Zero- zero-zero-zero? No way! The police took the unprecedented decision to march in black in Roseau on November 14 2019.

Skerrit's Big Budget

Government presented its budget for the Fiscal Year 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 in late July 2019. But analysts asked, where the revenue side of the budget is and where the money will come from.

"Is that real or imagined?" asked government critic Athie Martin. "That's not a real budget." Martin's concern was that the projected expenditure was made available without the income projections.

What Skerrit took before parliament was the country's first billion-dollar budget, EC$538,387,527 of which is recurrent and EC$481,786,018 in total capital. This year's projected expenditure of $1,020, 64,545 is $42 million higher than last year's budget of $978 million.

While it is still the largest recipient of the capital budget by a country mile, the ministry of public works, water resources and ports is getting less money this year ($167.7 million) than the $188 million it had been allocated last year. The ministry of housing and lands with $77 million, the ministry of trade, energy and employment ($54.7 million) and the ministry of the environment ($44 million) are among the other major recipients. Tourism and culture is being allocated just $9.7 million, less than the $10.6 that goes to the ministry of ecclesiastical affairs, family and gender affairs.

Gregor vs Lennox: Let the battle begin

Opposition Leader Lennox Linton and Gregor Nassief, the proprietor of Secret Bay Development Ltd. and Secret Bay Residents Ltd. Were apparently heading to court in 2019.

Nassief and Linton have exchanged letters from their lawyers over what Nassief, through his lawyers de Freitas, de Freitas and Johnson allege are defamatory statements made on the Hot Seat Radio Talk Show on Q95FM on Tuesday 3rd September 2019.

Best World Creole Music Festival

Dominica enjoyed its best World Creole Music Festival in two decades. The 2019 version include Jamaican Reggae artiste Buju Banton as the headline act who reportedly received almost three quarter million dollars.

Agriculture begins US$ 25 million project

Still suffering from the storm that destroyed almost all farm production, the agricultural sector received a big boost in 2019 with the official opening of an EC$68 million project.

Funded by the World Bank and called the "Dominica Emergency Agricultural Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project" (DEALCRP), the programme hopes to restore the damage caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.