Signing of the airport contract with Anthony Haiden
Signing of the airport contract with Anthony Haiden

In the words of Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, "in similar fashion with which Nehemiah built the city, the Lord will send his angels to guide this country while we labour to build our international airport in our country."

In the presence of his ministers, state dignitaries and riled up supporters, who equally matched his energy, Skerrit on 9 June 2021, at the contract signing of the long-awaited, much-talked-about international airport delivered a speech filled with biblical references, anger at times, but, most importantly, hope that after 50 years, his government was on the verge of delivering on a national dream.

"Many have spent a lifetime waiting for that day when the doors of the international airport will be opened," he said. "Some have doubted that they will ever see it. But we have had faith and fortitude. It is written New faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen. But today, the government which I have the honour to lead has delivered the first tangible and visible step towards making the international airport a reality in Dominica."

Igniting hope, Skerrit announced that following the grand ceremony, the airports will begin to rise out of the ground, then from the ground to the air and gave his solemn assurance that planes will land here directly from Europe and the United States of America in 2025.

The construction of this billion-dollar project, he said, will be executed in five phases and will be built to meet the new resilience construction standards in Dominica, ensuring fewer disruptions to the economy, guaranteeing the movement of Dominicans and products and fostering an enhanced level of social, environmental and economic resilience.

Though there have been mounting calls from the opposition parties and other local organizations for full transparency for the country's largest capital project, attempts to delay this signing which many have stated is a clear case of money laundering between Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and Chief Executive Officer of MMCE Anthony Haiden, were futile.

Skerrit placed on record his deepest appreciation and that of the government and people of Dominica for Hayden, for what he labelled as being true friends and partners in Dominica's development.

He also indicated that the People's Republic of China has committed to providing support for the construction of the airport but the bulk of the money for this project will come from the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI).

"Those who are against the use of CBI funds must tell the people of Dominica, how would they finance the construction of the international airport," he said. "Capital to build an international airport is impossible to come by for a country like Dominica and if you get it, it will be very expensive and if it's very expensive, the people must pay for it, and how will the people of Dominica pay for it, by increased taxes, and I have not met not one Dominican who tells me, 'Skerrit, I want to pay more taxes in Dominica'."

According to the head of government, the ground has been prepared and as the airport rises into the air, the dream of an international airport in Dominica will finally be moved from rhetoric to reality.

"We look to the prosperity of dynamic Dominica with the help of the Almighty God and the right hand of God. Nothing and no one can stop us in Dominica to build this international airport. There is but one prime minister in his country who decided for Dominicans," he said before the cheering hundreds gathered at the Windsor Park Stadium.

Adding more biblical passages to his nearly forty-minute speech, he referenced Psalm 127: Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

"This is the Lord's country ladies and gentlemen. It is the Lord who will build this airport for Dominica and the Lord will not allow our labour to go in vain because he is the one building this airport. So no, principality nor evildoers can stop this airport from being built because it is the Lord who is building this airport for Dominica. They will rise against our nation, but they will not succeed in his destruction," he said, again to the sounds of the horns from his supporters.

Painting a picture of a "Dynamic Dominica" ahead, Skerrit said that though we are a battered nation we shall move forward as we remain standing, planted by the water and "no man shall move us."