May 10, 2021

UK’S Caribbean Infrastructure Fund meant to deepen ties

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UKAIDFrom Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica

In 2015, United Kingdom Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced that his Government would invest ₤300m into new infrastructure in nine Caribbean islands.

These include the construction of roads, bridges and ports to help drive economic growth and development across the Caribbean region.

Through this United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), about ₤25m allotted to Dominica has been earmarked for the upgrade of the Loubiere/Bagatelle road.

On Tuesday, May 31st British Parliamentary Under Secretary Of State Of International Development, Baroness Sandip Verma accompanied by the Hon. Parliamentary Representative for the Grand Bay Constituency, Justina Charles and Hon. Minister for Public Works, Miriam Blanchard, visited the site.

Hon Charles expressed elation over the impending upgrades from which her constituents will benefit.

“I am happy that the British Government has come to Dominica’s aid and decided to make that grant available. Driving through, they now have a better appreciation of the amount of work which needs to be done.

“We have cliffs to pay attention to where we have landslides regularly; we also have road failures and areas that require guard rails so that road users can drive on what is considered safer road.

She acknowledged that it will take some time before actual physical work begins on the project since necessary preparations must first be done.

At the time of the fund’s announcement, the UK Prime Minister indicated that the initiative was focused on reinvigorating the relationship between the UK and the Caribbean countries.

When the Baroness met with Hon Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit on Tuesday, he expressed a desire for the further deepening of ties between the UK Government and CARICOM.

“I believe that the relationship between Dominica and the United Kingdom is solid. We are always prepared to work with the British Government on bilateral and multilateral issues. We have suggested some ways through which we can enhance the coordination and that there is sufficient political exchange between the Governments. There are some things that only politicians can deal with or speak about and it is important for us to maintain the political exchanges. This is so the relationship between the Caribbean Community and the UK Government can be strengthened,” he said.

In her discourse with the Dominica leader, Baroness Verma spoke of the UK Prime Minister’s interest in the strengthening the relationship on both sides.

“The Prime Minister was very keen to make sure that not only were we fully reengaged with the Caribbean but that the Caribbean was fully reengaged with the UK. I think it’s really that two-way relationship that he’s very keen to build on,” she began.

“The infrastructure fund is just part of the wider engagement that you alluded to,” the Baroness said to the Hon. Prime Minister. “I think part of it is about looking at the economic growth story that goes beyond the road.”

Government has made a public request for consultants to express interest in leading a feasibility study for the project. The objective of the consultancy is to develop a technically and economically feasible programme of work for the rehabilitation of the road.

The Caribbean Development Bank and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) have partnered in the implementation of the UK Caribbean infrastructure programme.


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