Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica

01/21/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/21/2021 14:49

PM SKERRIT LEADS DELEGATION TO JO BURTON SITE

The Government of Dominica continues to makes strides to the fulfillment of a promise made to citizens of Dominica to build an international airport.

Plans for the international airport places the major development in the village of Wesley, which has caused the relocation of many of the villages residences.

Prime Minister of Dominica, Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit led a delegation on a site visit to the Jo Burton area where the Government plans to relocate persons who will be directly impacted by the construction of the international airport.

'We have given the go ahead for the construction of thirty-seven new residences on this site. There are individuals who opted for the Government to build a home for them in exchange for the houses the Government has acquired. And so we are doing the thirty-seven here,' Prime Minister Skerrit stated.

The Prime Minister went on to explain that negotiations were held with property owners, from which the government made decisions which will benefit all parties involved.

'Out of that thirty-seven, there are twenty families who do not have land but they have a house on some of these properties, and the Government decided in this circumstance to provide both a lot and a house for those individuals. There are individuals who have opted for cash in exchange for their properties, so what we have done is that we are paying them for the market value of their house and we have provided them with a lot. In every one of these instances, the property owners are receiving a much larger lot here at Jo Burton than which the Government has acquired from them,' Prime Minister Skerrit stated.

The Minister for Finance noted that the lands which were identified by Government for the relocation of the residents of Wesley can be considered prime land with a great view. He went on to say that the Government has always ensured that the comfort of the affected residents was a priority.

'I am very happy to be here. It is a wonderful site. You cannot get a better view than this. It is really a wonderful place and people are excited and I am even more excited for them because we are giving them a property that is way in excess of the value of what the Government has acquired from them. And I've always promised the people who will be affected by the airport, when I met with them collectively as a group and on an individual basis, I have assured them that they would be better off in a better circumstance than when the Government acquired their properties and our commitment is manifesting itself and we look forward to these homes being completed,' Prime Minister Skerrit explained.

Prime Minister Skerrit also spoke of the concerns of the public that some farmers lost their crops during the clearing of the Jo Burton area. The Prime Minister stated that is untrue as the farmers were given adequate time to harvest their crops.

'There were one or two people who are complaining about their lands and their crops that were cleared. These are people who have been cultivating on state lands and they were given notice since in March of 2020 that they should clear the lots and so on. I am hoping that I can meet those people to discuss with them and hear from them what they want and their real concerns. The reality is this is being blown out of proportion by anti-development proponents, by antagonists and it is unfortunate there are a few people in our country who will never seek to appreciate the importance of they being on the positive side of our country's development,' Prime Minister Skerrit explained.

The Prime Minister added that despite these challenges, the Government intends for the construction of the new development to be completed by August 2021.

'We have started clearing the site. The schedule that we have on the construction of these residences, these homes is for completion due at the end of August 2021, and it's going to be really a wonderful development,' Prime Minister Skerrit went on to add.