“Dominica has defied the odds and we are on a clear growth trajectory,” he said during a Climate and Sustainability Development summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Friday.
“Our national recovery has been led by the resilient and resourceful people of Dominica at home and abroad who were determined not to be defeated by the mighty forces of nature.”
Like many in the region, Dominica turned to international organizations, like the United Nations and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), for financial assistance to manage the destruction left behind by the storm.
The Caribbean's tourism sector lost close to US$700 million in revenue and saw almost one million fewer visitors in 2017 due to the devastating impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria. An industry report released by the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council revealed the disastrous effect the storms had on one of the region's most critical industries when compared to previous years Tuesday.
Out of the Caribbean and U.S. territories, Dominica, Barbuda, and Puerto Rico sustained the most damage from electric services to infrastructure, economy to food and water supplies.
Last September the island was devastated by category five hurricanes Irma and Maria, which gravely damaged Dominica’s infrastructure, including its electrical grid. Approximately 75 percent of the network was destroyed or damaged last year, while until January 2018 less than 20 percent of electric services had been restored.
“In the space of a few hours, Maria wiped out 225% of Dominica’s GDP,” Skerrit said.
“As a leader, I was forced to face unprecedented and “unimaginable devastation,” of the economy, the natural and built environments and in the face of it all, to motivate a demoralized population,” he said.
However, with perseverance and a strong, closely-knit community, the country is back on its feet, with the promise of a potential nine percent economic growth by the end of the year, Skerrit said, citing a report from the Economic Commission of Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
“Our infrastructure is being rebuilt new homes and schools have gone up and a new modern hospital is under construction.
“From the seeds of Maria’s destruction, grew my Administration’s policy initiatives and actions to build the first climate resilient nation in the world and to usher Dominica into a bright future,” the prime minister said.