Honourable Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister & Mrs. Skerrit
My Lord Bishop Malzaire
Your Ladyship Justice Stephenson
Your Ladyship Justice Charles-Clarke
Honourable Ministers of Government and other Members of Parliament
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps
The Secretary to the Cabinet
Chairman and Members of the President's Charities Foundation
A pleasant good evening to each and every one.
I am indeed happy to welcome you to the Fourteenth Annual Fund Raising Dinner of the President's Charities Foundation which aims to raise funds in support of the work of some 17 charities on the island.
Last year, I informed that in response to the special set of circumstances created by Tropical Storm Erika, the President's Charities Foundation established the President's Charities Foundation Erika Relief Fund Sub Committee, to undertake fund raising to assist with the resumption of classes at the Coulibistrie and Colihaut schools which had been closed due to the damage caused by Tropical Storm Erika, and also to assist two of our charities which had been struggling for years, that is, the Grotto Home and Operation Youth Quake.
At last year's Dinner, I gave an update of the activities of the Erika Relief Fund Sub-Committee and indicated that 100% of the funds raised had not been disbursed as the works targeted had not been completed.
I am pleased to confirm the information in our Press Statement of 1st March 2017 that contributions were received from thirteen (13) sources, which brought the total contributions to a figure of two hundred and five thousand, six hundred and eighty Eastern Caribbean Dollars and thirty-nine cents (EC$205,680.39).
A total amount of EC$205,680.39 was disbursed from the Erika Relief Fund Account, i.e. 100% of the funds raised. The following are the details of the disbursements made by the Erika Relief Fund Sub-Committee:
- On 1st July, 2016, fifty-eight (58) gallons of Sisson Paint which was donated by Ansa Coatings Limited, towards the refurbishment of the Colihaut Primary School was handed to the Ministry of Education. The pain was valued at a cost of EC$2,173.52;
- On 18th July, 2016, a cheque in the amount of EC$60,000.00 was presented to the Ministry of Education to be used for the development of the fore court at the Coulibistrie Primary School into a multipurpose court;
- On 2nd September 2016, works for the installation of sixteen (16) doors, purchased from Speciality Making and Materials Ltd., for the Colihaut Primary School and installed by the same Company, were completed. This was at a cost of EC$23,927.55;
- On 19th September 2016, sixty-five (65) student's desks and chairs, five (5) filing cabinets and five (5) teacher's desks and chairs ordered from a Company in China for the Colihaut Primary School costing EC$28,962.06, were delivered to the Ministry of education;
- In October 2016 works for the installation of fifty-nine (59) louvered windows sourced from Oran Ltd. in Barbados, for the Colihaut Primary School in the amount of EC$39,726.91 were completed;
- On 9th November 2016, a cheque for a new septic tank and soak away system for the New Grotto Home for the Homeless at Bellevue Rawle and also for defraying the cost of the transportation of excavated materials from the new site of the Grotto Home at a cost of $EC$22,475.80, was presented to the Acting President of the Board of Directors;
- On 11th November 2016, a cheque for EC22,980.00 was presented to the Manager of the Operation Youth Quake for the farm development project of the Operation Youth Quake as follows:
- Building two (2) terraces on sloping land at the back of the Operation Youth Quake building to create more land space for farming at a cost of $22,980.00; and
- The development of the farm at the Operation Youth Quake at a cost of EC$5,434.55;
I am further pleased to report that classes were resumed at the Coulibistrie Primary School on 5th September 2016 and at the Colihaut Primary School in 20th March 2017; the new septic tank and soak away system have been completed and with an additional $200,000.00 grant from Government, the new Grotto Home should be completed and occupied by the residents in a matter of months; renovation works on the Operation Youth Quake building have been completed and the residents have returned to the building. The Operation Youth Quake encountered some challenges with the construction of the two terraces but has since gotten assistance from the National Employment Programme and work is scheduled to commence next week.
I wish to take this opportunity to express my profound thanks and appreciation to both the local and regional businesses and individuals who contributed towards the Erika Relief Fund, and to further express my deep appreciation to the members of the Sub-Committee for their hard work and commitment which aided the Foundation in achieving its objectives. They are:
- Mrs. Shermaine Green Brown - (Chairperson)
- Mr. Antoine Raffoul
- Mrs. Jennifer White
- Mr. Oliver St. John
- Mr. Jeffrey Baptiste
- Mr. Damian Whitchurch-Aird
- Mr. Julius C. Corbett; and
- Mr. Hilkiah Lavinier
I also want to express my special thanks and appreciation to the Chairman of the Foundation, Mr. Antoine Raffoul, and Mrs. Shermaine Green-Brown, Public Relations Officer, for sharing their time, energy, talents and skills to ensuring every year that everything is in place for the hosting of the dinner, and to thank as well all the other individual members of the Foundation. They are:
- Mrs. Clara Savarin, ex-officio member
- Mrs. Zandra Phillip, Treasurer
- Mrs. Noelize Knight Didier, Secretary
- Mrs. Hazel Johnson, Legal Secretary
- Mr. Robert St John
- Mr. Oliver St John
- Mr. Henry Volney
- Mr. Julius J. Corbett
- Mr. Hilkiah Lavinier
- Mr. Jeffrey Baptiste
- Mr. Damien Whitchurch-Aird
- Miss Donille Blackmoore, President's Secretary who is the Assistant Secretary/Treasurer; not forgetting of course the other members of staff who are here assisting, and the members of the Roseau Cultural Group who assist every year with ushering
The President's Charities Fundraising Dinner is the premier fundraising activity which takes place every year. Support for the Foundation's fundraising effort by the purchase of tickets; whether singly, as couples and/or family members or as organizations and/or enterprises is deeply appreciated. I want to thank you all and look forward to your continued support.
A formal vote of thanks will be given later but I want to take this opportunity to make special mention of the following organizations and individuals who purchased in excess of five (5) tickets for tonight's dinner, these are:
- Ross University (20)
- Duncan Stowe (11)
- AID Bank (10)
- DOMLEC (10)
- Nassief family (9)
- Astaphan family (9)
- Chinese Embassy (5)
- DIGICEL (5), and sponsoring a door prize
I also wish to take the opportunity to acknowledge our sponsors whose names are printed at the back of your tickets they are: FLOW, HHV Whitchurch & Company Limited, Ross University School of Medicine, DOMLEC, Petro Caribe, The Embassy of the People's Republic of China, Dominica National Petroleum Company Limited, Print Xpress, Archipelago Trading, National Bank of Dominica, AID Bank, Dominica Social Security, First Domestic Insurance, J. Astaphan & Company Limited, Fine Foods Incorporated, Marpin 2K4 Ltd., Fort Young Hotel; and Digicel and Secret Bay for sponsoring a door prize each.
As is customary, The President's Charities Foundation will, from the proceeds of the fund raising dinner, make a cash presentation at Christmas time to each of the 17 charities it supports. The charities are:
- Dominica Association of Persons with Disabilities
- St. Jerome's Ministry
- Dominica Council on Ageing
- House of Hope
- Roseau Branch of the St. Vincent De Paul Society
- Northern Branch of the St. Vincent De Paul Society
- Roving Caregivers Programme
- The Social Centre (Towards the St. Ann's Day Nursery)
- Operation Youth Quake
- Mahaut Senior Citizens Home
- Grotto Home for the Homeless
- Alpha Centre
- Workshop for the Blind
- Dominica Infirmary
- The Northern District Home for the Aged Inc.
- Care of the Elderly, Portsmouth
The total amount disbursed last year to the various charities was $38,500.00.
Let me once again express my thanks to the members of the Foundation, the Sponsors, you the patrons and the many volunteers who assist the foundation in all of its activities including its annual Christmas Party for primary school children ages 5 to 12. Your support is deeply appreciated, and we do look forward to your continued support to this worthwhile undertaking.
I also want to thank in a very special way Mr. Patrick Pemberton who over the past years has been providing musical accompaniment during the cocktails and dinner free of charge. Mr. Pemberton was unable to volunteer his services this year owing to unforeseen circumstances. As you would have noticed, musical accompaniment is being provided this evening by Phase Five, and we will have a performance by Michele Henderson and her Band following your dinner.
The Hurricane Season is once again upon us. Let us continue to implore God's mercy and His divine intervention during this Hurricane Season. We have not fully recovered from Tropical Storm Erika but with faith in God and the effort of our government and people, and the support of the international community, we will overcome and we will rebuild Dominica, stronger and better.
May the Good Lord continue to bless you and your families, and may He bless the Commonwealth of Dominica.