RDF SYMPOSIUM - ON COMMEMORATIVE MAGAZINE
Declaration of Principles
NY Governor Pataki
Want to go home?
DEXIA - New Approach
Mo n Mo Music
Productivity and Economy
Health & the Diaspora
A Call to Action
Do You Remember When?
Technol. & Intel. Capital
Planning for Agriculture
Security & Development
Dominica State College
DSS in Partnership
Dominica & Integration
Education for Survival
Globalisation & Caribbean
Skills for Internet Age
Legacy of Rosie Douglas-1
Message from Ambassador Swinburne Lestrade
That our beloved country, Dominica, is in a very difficult economic and financial situation is well known to all of us -- a situation that has its roots in the structure and functioning of the economy, in particular the over-dependence on the banana industry, and the apparent dearth of realistic or viable development options.
We face a tremendous challenge of development; a challenge that has many facets and dimensions that I expect the expert panelists to the Dominica Development Conference will be discussing.
For purposes of this Message, I wish to remind all that at the end of the day, it is to our human resources that our country will have to look for infusing added dynamism to the many-faceted process of economic and social development, and taking up the challenge of giving our people, our country, and ourselves the opportunity of enhanced participation in our Caribbean and world communities. It is a challenge made more imposing by recent developments in the global economic community, and one that requires a contribution from each and every Dominican who loves and cares for his country.
I have always been impressed by love of country of fellow Dominicans. We see it all the time, expressed variously and often. We see it in Dominicans at home and abroad. It is something that has further impressed me during my short stint so far in this country in my present capacity. This is very much to be encouraged – it can only augur well for the efforts that we all must continue to make, at all levels, official and non-official, governmental and non-governmental, to contribute to meeting head on, the challenges that we will continue to face for some time to come. Whatever we do, we have to continue to multiply the opportunities for the empowerment of our people, state-sponsored, self-generated and otherwise. One definition of development is simply the continued generation of opportunity – opportunity for self-enhancement and national empowerment. Let us all rally to this challenge and do whatever little we can to contribute to this cause.
This is precisely what the Rosie Douglas Foundation is trying to do. The Foundation consists of a group of Dominicans who are determined to make a difference. In the throes of crisis they challenge themselves; in a context of pessimism, they remain determined; in the midst of the purveyors of doom, they remain steadfast and focused. Truly, they are the salt of the earth. All Dominicans and friends of Dominica should feel challenged to support and contribute to the cause of the Rosie Douglas Foundation.
One of the legacies of our late Prime Minister, who gave his name to the Foundation, was his overt and purposeful embrace of overseas-based Dominicans in the cause of our country. It is entirely appropriate therefore that the Rosie Douglas Foundation was conceived and founded by overseas based Dominicans. I wish them well and pledge the strong support of Dominica’s Embassy in their efforts in support of our country.
Finally, I urge the Foundation to be as embracing as our late Prime Minister sought to be. The task that the Foundation has set itself will be the more difficult the longer our politics continues to be dysfunctionally divisive. I was reading the Independence issue of one of our local newspapers, in which the following three quotes can be found: “A country cannot develop when every issue affecting its people is dealt with on a partisan basis”. This is from the General Secretary of the Dominica Public Service Union. The second, from the Minister of Tourism says, “We know that managing an economy such as ours is not an easy task”; and the third is from the Leader of the Opposition: “Notwithstanding the hard times, our energies and efforts will be better spent seeking out every opportunity and working towards a future devoid of bitterness, prejudice, hatred and ignorance”.
In the business of development, which is the main purpose of the Rosie Douglas Foundation, we must let all ideas, and all persons contend. I look forward to the Symposium to shed light not only on the challenges that we face, but also the possibilities for economic and social development of our beloved country.