Rebuilding Dominica has brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of people in the Nature Isle.
But, there is still plenty work to be done, as many major landmarks remain in a state of disrepair.
Roseau, the capital, is where most of the initial repair work has been done, and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that was necessary for the country to restart its engines so that commerce and the private sector would be the first back on their feet.
Just outside Roseau, the Dominica Anglican Church remains in ruin, without a roof and most of its walls crumbled. However, the sign outside the historic structure remains.
One hundred metres away, Dominica’s free library, which lost all its books, is also untouched and needing plenty of work.
In downtown Roseau, construction has started on several buildings, but in many instances, serious rehabilitation work is necessary.
Speaking Thursday at an event of Hope And Celebration at the Windsor Park Stadium, Skerrit said he was proud of what work had been done, but would now focus on what else remained to be repaired to bring the country back to normalcy.
He said Dominicans should be proud they were able to keep government going in the early days after the passage of Hurricane Maria two years ago, when every public servant continued to be paid.
But what he was most proud of was the physical reshaping of the capital.
“I’m forced to ask myself, was it really two short years ago that Dominica received an unwelcome visitor by an unstoppable force of nature? Is this really the same Windsor Park Stadium that we are sitting in comfortably that bore witness to the damage and destruction? Are we today walking the same flooded zones, where the water rushed down from the mountains to join the rivers and seas and every road was blocked? Is this really our capital city that Maria left only one passable bridge?”
Skerrit said he would never forget how the country looked; since it was as if it had been hit at close range by military weapons.
“All of you who are today hopeful citizens from communities that were left shell shocked, look around Dominica today. Let us rejoice and celebrate, and give God thanks. To God be the glory, great things He has done.”
The prime minister added that even though Dominicans should look around and celebrate how far they have come since Maria passed, they should also remember those who died when the Category 5 hurricane wreaked havoc on their country.
Skerrit said that as the hurricane passed he was scared, but a few days later found strength in the position in which he had been placed to be the leading light in Dominica’s rise from the ashes.
“I knew in my heart, that God had a plan for our country, Dominica. We, as a people, were still standing. You, the people, have taken up the mantle. I am thankful for your sacrifices. It is through your hard work we have come this far. I ask God for greater strength and wisdom for the task ahead,” he said.
The prime minister said his aim now, and through assistance from international agencies, would be for Dominica to become the most climate change-resilient country in the Western Hemisphere, starting with the building of 5 000 specially constructed homes that would be able to withstand the strongest storms. (BA)