Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica

Address to Parliament, Thursday, 27th July 2017

Madam Speaker,
I thank you most profoundly for the invitation which you have so graciously extended to me and my wife Clara to attend the First Meeting of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament and for me to address this Honourable House. My wife Clara joins me in thanking you for your kind invitation.

If Christopher Columbus Were to Return

Madam Speaker, Honourable Members, from time to time the view is expressed by some, that if Christopher Columbus were to return to the Caribbean that Dominica is the only island he would be able to recognize. Those who express that view do so with a sense of cynicism, meaning that Dominica has remained virtually undeveloped since the days of Columbus.

I hold an opposite view, however.

Columbus visited Dominica some 524 years ago and the Spanish, French and British were in charge of, and responsible for the development of this country until 1978; that is for some 485 years. Up to 60 years ago, that is, in the mid 50s, when former Prime Minister Edison James and I left Marigot and Portsmouth respectively, to attend secondary school in Roseau, there was no road communication between Marigot and Roseau and between Portsmouth and Roseau. From Marigot, you would have to come to Portsmouth by truck, and from Portsmouth take a coastal motor boat or launch, to travel to Roseau by sea, a journey taking some two and a half hours. There was no electricity in Portsmouth and Marigot, and points in between. There was no pipe-borne water in most homes just a few standpipes, etc. There were no radios, no televisions, and no house phones. There was no airport of any kind, a seaplane would arrive in the Portsmouth harbour once or twice a week and passengers would disembark into small boats and be rowed ashore and taken to Roseau in a fast government boat, the Crash Launch, and banana and cargo boats would anchor one hundred or so yards offshore and lighters were towed out to load and off load them.

Read the entire Address to Parliament, Thursday, 27th July 2017 (PDF, 158 KB).

Posted: 02/08/2017

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