As we embark on a new year, on behalf of the Government and people of Dominica and the staff at the High Commission, I wish to express my sincere and heartfelt appreciation to all who have supported the relief effort after the devastation of Dominica from Hurricane Maria.
The year 2017 was truly a busy year. We reached out to nationals all over the United Kingdom, as well as in Europe - Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Slovenia and Sweden, The Netherlands, and other parts of the globe to address their welfare and concerns. We have continuously promoted our country as the best travel and investment destination. We re-launched our website, and expanded our digital footprint with a Facebook and Twitter presence. Our artists, crafts and designs, our food, music and talents have experienced great exposure in many parts of the UK and beyond.
Importantly, we forged a strong alliance with Dominicans, Friends of Dominicans and others to raise funds and garner support for our people in the wake of the humanitarian emergency arising from the deleterious effects of Hurricane Maria. We are pleased that so many companies, national associations, schools, churches, private individuals and groups, including members of the diplomatic community responded to the humanitarian appeal. We commend them for their respective assistance, support and for the charitable work they do for our country.
We are also grateful for the achievements of our Prime Minister, The Honourable Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit, and his administration in 2017, despite substantial physical and infrastructural damage from the ravages of Hurricane Maria, and the continuing efforts to address the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm Erika just over 2 years ago.
Dominicans and friends of Dominica demonstrated their love of land and for their people in the most overwhelming outpouring of generosity. Despite the many challenges, many gave their time willingly and pushed through those challenges to ensure we were able to respond to the needs of the people and country.
The Dominican Associations, the Diplomatic Corps, the international organizations, individual groups, organisations, churches, schools, businesses, well-wishers, family and friends, all came together with one sole purpose, to support the people of Dominica in their hour of need. The invaluable support of Geest, Winfresh and Ram Shipping in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria is laudable and we take this opportunity to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the management and staff for their selfless support and assistance.
It is important to acknowledge the many individuals who have volunteered their time at the High Commission and across the UK to support the relief effort. We greatly appreciate your commitment to the cause and to our country. We were heartened and moved by video clips on social media and in the mainstream media; All of which assisted in highlighting our plight raising awareness on a larger scale for much needed funds to rebuild Dominica. We are happy to say that to date we have raised a total of £347,013.87. This is in addition to the 18 40 foot containers that were dispatched and successfully arrived in Dominica.
A special thank you to the St. Lucia High Commission for their patience and unwavering support as the premises were used as a collection and donation point in the initial response. As many of you know both High Commissions share the same building and their assistance, support and understanding during this time has been, and continue to be, invaluable.
2018 is a special year of particular significance for Dominica. It marks 40 years of Dominica’s Independence and Dominicans at home and abroad will be focusing heavily on the rebirth of the Nature Island of the Caribbean.
It now remains for me to wish you all a very Happy New Year.