Seven months after Maria, the French receives an update in Dominica
Regional Counsellor for Cooperation Stéphane Dovert travelled to Dominica from 4th to 7th April 2018 to discuss French initiatives seven months after Hurricane Maria. He first received an update on the situation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Francine Baron, who noted the immediate reaction of the French authorities in the aftermath of the hurricane but also the important solidarity shown by the authorities and civil society of Martinique. Several ideas have been seriously discussed to structurally strengthen the links between Dominica and Guadeloupe on one hand, and Martinique on the other hand, the two territories having hosted many Dominican nationals after the hurricane.
The Minister of Education and Human Resources Development, Mr. Petter Saint-Jean, accompanied by the Permanent Secretary, Chandler Hyacinth, for their part, expressed their interest in the Passport for French Higher Education programme which aims to offer Eastern Caribbean students access to higher education in France and, in particular, in Guadeloupe and Martinique. The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss the reconstruction of the Woodford Hill and Bense schools in the north by the NGO Emergency Architects thanks to funds raised by a Martinican association “Contact –Companies”. Following hurricane Maria, 300 Martinique workers gave 450 days valued at around 200,000 euros. This commitment allowed the completion of works in two completely devastated facilities. An architect and two young engineers were also on location for ten months.
In addition, a tremendous amount of work has been done by the Alliance Française de Roseau, severely damaged by Hurricane Maria, since it has been completely renovated since September, thanks to the solidarity of the Alliance network.
Finally, the commitment of the French authorities in the geothermal programme of Dominica was discussed with the Minister of Commerce, Energy and Employment, Mr. Ian Douglas, in the presence of a delegation from the French Agency for Development.