Still, Dominica Strong
Two years ago, one of the most devastating storms ever recorded carved a path of devastation through the Caribbean. Hurricane Maria’s aftermath has given rise to a new era of awareness for the Caribbean and our yearly struggle with the Atlantic Hurricane season.
Mark Maloney, Executive Chairman of the Preconco Group, stands as one of many that leapt into action in the wake of Maria.
“When I first went to Dominica after Hurricane Maria, it was unbelievable. It was like an atomic bomb had hit the country. It’s unexplainable. You see pictures and even the pictures can’t explain it. What I can say is that I never met a more resilient people than I did in Dominica,” said Maloney.
“We believe that all the islands should really take note of what happened in the Bahamas this year and two years ago in Dominica and spend time now on shoring up its infrastructure and developing sustainable housing solutions because it’s not going to get any better,” he added.
According to Maloney, the aftermath of Maria was filled with people caring about people and being positive. “It’s that environment that drew us to want to help and to do work and to build business in Dominica,” he said.
“It is during times like those that you see the true colours of people. The people of Dominica are incredible. I don’t think that I’ve met anyone that is so not-caring-about-self and caring about others and so positive,” Maloney continued.
“They were more interested in what they could do to help their neighbours and their friends and the communities around them than they were about themselves. There were people going to work that didn’t have a home or a bed to sleep in. That was very touching. I can’t really explain how I felt about what I saw there but I can tell you that the islands of the Caribbean need to focus on their infrastructure”.
Preconco was the first group of companies to rush to the aid of Dominica when the storm clouds cleared from the once lush island. “We went there to see how we could help the government of Dominica with the infrastructure challenges that they had, with housing challenges, and we did a significant donation to the country of Dominica to help them with their issues, mostly construction related items,” said Maloney.
Working with the government of Dominica, the Preconco Group embarked on supplying the country with precast concrete homes built on stilts to alleviate the issues associated with flooding. The homes are completely concrete, including their roofs.
Maloney afforded that the homes are energy efficient and have special materials inlayed into the concrete for cooling which makes them strong, cool, energy efficient, and sustainable.
“We’re building a plant in Dominica now to manufacture homes because there is such a need for sustainable housing. We also worked with a company from Trinidad that we brought over to deal with cleaning rivers,” said Maloney.
He went on to say, “We’re doing work not just to deal with the issues created by the hurricane but to help create a sustainable infrastructure with both housing and road infrastructure and so on for future of the country. We think that that is not something just for Dominica”.