Acceptance Speech of His Excellency Charles Angelo Savarin D.A.H., President of the Commonwealth of Dominica

Tuesday October 2, 2018

Hon. Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit Prime Minister and Mrs. Skerrit
Hon. Speaker of the House of Assembly Alix Boyd Knights
Her Ladyship Justice Birnie Stephenson, Senior Resident Judge
Your Ladyship Justice Victoria Charles Clarke, Resident Judge
Former President, His Excellency Eliud Thaddeus Williams and Mrs. Williams
Hon. Ministers of the Cabinet and Spouses
Your Excellencies the Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Consular Corps and Spouses
Hon. Members of the House of Assembly
Your Worship Mayor Irene John
Your Excellency Steve Ferrol, Secretary to the Cabinet
Permanent Secretaries
Methodist Superintendent Minister Rev. Morna Christmas Frazer
Evangelist Peter R. Augustine
Members of the Savarin Family
Members of the Media
Other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

A very pleasant and blessed good morning to you all.

Section 18 (1) of the Constitution of Dominica provides: "There shall be a President of Dominica who shall be elected by the House and shall hold office for a term of five years."

My wife Clara and I and members of my family express our thanks and appreciation to the Honourable Prime Minister and Members of the House of Assembly for electing me to serve as President of Dominica for a second five-year term. We are therefore happy and honoured that you, all of you made the effort to grace this Swearing-in Ceremony with your presence.

Five years ago with a profound sense of humility, I accepted the high honour and privilege of the nation's highest office to serve as the eighth President of the Commonwealth of Dominica which you, the Members of Parliament and the people of Dominica whom you represent, had bestowed upon me. On Monday, the 1st day of October 2018, that is yesterday, you again demonstrated that you thought me worthy of this honour. An honour I am further pleased and honoured to accept, and to continue to serve as President as we observe the 40th year of our Independence under the theme "My Love, My Home, My Dominica - Building a Resilient Country."

My wife Clara and my entire family join me in thanking you for conferring the dignity and responsibilities of the office of the President on me, for a second term.

At my last inauguration, I indicated to you the Members of Parliament and to all citizens and residents of Dominica, that I was assuming the office of President without malice or ill will toward anyone, without fear of intimidation, and with respect for the traditions, laws and Constitution of Dominica which I swore to uphold. I remained true and loyal to these commitments and by the blessings and munificence of God Almighty, look forward with great optimism to further discharging the functions of the Office of President with dignity and dedication, impartiality, objectivity, fairness and consideration for all, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

My first five-year term was a rewarding, fulfilling and enjoyable experience without parallel. An experience that would not have been possible without the love, support, understanding and cooperation of my dear wife and family, friends, well-wishers, the President Secretary and staff of the Office and Official Residence of the President, the ADC and security detail, the priests and pastors who pray with us weekly, the Parliament, the Government and people of Dominica and above all, the bountiful grace and mercy of Almighty God. For all of this, I will be forever thankful and grateful.

Honourable Ministers and Members of Parliament, Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we live in difficult and challenging times. Although the past five years were filled with several achievements for our people and our country, unfortunately many of these were negatively impacted by the overwhelming challenges over which we have no control such as tropical storms and hurricanes and the unpredictability of weather patterns due to global warming and climate change, and other social ills as crime, violence, and negative portrayal of our country at home and abroad.

Prior to the passage of Tropical Storm Erika in 2015, we had made significant strides in many sectors particularly in the areas of physical infrastructural development, health, housing, tourism, education, information and communication technology, entrepreneurship, renewable energy development, and in providing for the elderly; the very young and the dispossessed. There was a commitment to the development of several major projects geared at further enhancing our economic growth and development. In two years we had made great strides in dealing with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Erika and looked to the future with a sense of hope and great optimism. Regrettably, last year, we were again confronted with a major disaster - Hurricane Maria, the most devastating hurricane to have ever struck our country, more devastating even than Hurricane David which struck us in 1979. Maria totally destroyed and/or severely damaged all that we had built over the years. We have come a long way since that frightful morning, there is still a lot to be done but we are committed in our determination to rebuild even better and stronger and to make Dominica the first climate resilient country in the world.

The road ahead is going to be challenging but we have shown in the past that we are up to the task. To succeed at that task, however, we need to embrace each other as fellow Dominicans. We have to set aside our differences whether they be religious or political, whether we live at home here in Dominica or abroad in the diaspora, whether we support the Government or are opposed to it, we must work together for the benefit, reconstruction and further development of Dominica. The Office of the President and the President himself are open and available to all.

The theme chosen for the observance of this year's 40th Anniversary of Independence, "My Love, My Home, My Dominica - Building a Resilient Country," is indeed very timely and relevant. It requires all of us to demonstrate our love for our home and country, Dominica, by applying an even greater sense of togetherness, commitment, dedication, tolerance, perseverance and determination to proof our country against Global Climate Change. Let us therefore resolve to embrace our island home Dominica, and find ways to contribute to its development, and to make it better and stronger, in the wake of Erika and Maria.

I wish at this time to express my thanks to God Almighty for all His favours, to the many friends and well-wishers who have sent us expressions of goodwill and support, to the Honourable Chief Justice for designating Justice Stephenson to administer the Oath of Office, to the Methodist Superintendent Minister Rev. Morna Christmas Frazer and Evangelist Peter R Augustine for offering the prayers and exhortations to the Almighty Father this morning, to the security services, the Prime Minister's office and the Cabinet Secretariat, and to all others who have contributed to today's proceedings.

And so notwithstanding all the challenges which confront us, Christ tells us in John 14: 1: "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me."

And with regard to social media and fake news, Christ himself tells us in Matthew 13: 57: "A prophet is not without honour except in his own town and in his own home."

Please continue to pray for me and for my family as we embark on this further journey in the service of Dominica.

May God bless us all and may God bless the Commonwealth of Dominica on this the 2nd of October 2018 - my 75th Birthday.

I Thank You.

Posted: 03/10/2018

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