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DAIC questions timing of public holiday; UWP says event is a Labour Party affair – Dominica News Online

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President of the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC) Kenny Green says that he has no issue with the praise and thanksgiving concert being held to commemorate the anniversary of Hurricane Maria. However, he says DAIC members are concerned about the timing and way that the prime minister declared today a national holiday.

“No one will argue that the principle and purpose of a thanksgiving and gratitude event to commemorate Maria is a noble one, I don’t think any one in the country in principle, will be against. What it comes down to, is the timing and the process.”

Thursday 19th September 2019 was declared a national holiday to allow residents the opportunity to attend a concert to commemorate the passing of hurricane Maria, which devastated Dominica two years ago (18th Sept 2019).

Green says that it is a bit disappointing and confusing as to how it was done. He questions “the principle of timing and lack of notice” and says that if this is going to be on the regular calendar of events, going forward, “we need to know so that we can be better prepared. I don’t think it was done in such a way that everyone was clear what was going to happen”.

The DAIC president believes that while some employers may not have an issue with the decision, there are some who are concerned about the financial cost to their business.

However, Green has come in for some criticism from the president of the United Workers Party (UWP) which has taken a decision that the Leader of the Opposition and other opposition parliamentarians will not attend.

Isaac Baptiste has called Green a “hypocrite” and said he should resign as head of the DAIC because according to him, Green is serving his own interest and not the members.

Baptiste told DNO that his party is “shocked by the insensitivity of the prime minister to the current economic situation facing the private sector in Dominica post Hurricane Maria”.

He said the situation was bad prior to Maria and post Maria, it became worse for the majority of business owners, particularly small businesses.

“The private sector has a right to be angered, because they are in a situation where the economy is not at the level that it should be after such a major disaster, in terms of growth and performance and to declare a public holiday to force them to pay wages for non performance of work , is insensitive,” Baptiste stressed.

He said the concert is not a national activity, not a government activity but “a Labouir Party planned activity, to try and bring people to the location, with the expectation that performance by the artists will help boost the image of the Labour Party” and pointed out that the event was announced as part of the calendar of activities of the Dominica Labour Party.

He referred to Commonwealth Observer Mission report after the 2014 general election which identified abuse of incumbency (Government using state resources to have an advantage in the general election) as one of the faults of the election process.

“One of the areas which they identified was the fact of “Abuse of incumbency – by trying to buy votes, by treating and bribery – this is exactly what is happening with this concert”.

According to Baptiste, if this was truly a national event in commemoration of the passage of Hurricane Maria, the clergy and church community would have been invited to lead the activity.

“They (government) did not do that!,” he stated. ……..in fact – the Catholic Church did organize a mass, one year post Maria and they invited all officials and none of the Dominica Labour Party Officials attended. So it is a hypocritical thing they are now doing!”

The Builders and Contractors Association (BCAD) and Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) have also expressed their opposition to the event.

Expressing concern about the lack of transparency and accountability with regard to the nation’s affairs, BCAD president, Anthony Leblanc, encouraged all workers and employees to go out to the concert with placards asking “where the money went because it did not go to the treasury!”

General Secretary of the Public Service Union (PSU) Thomas Letang lamented the fact that the country is being shut down for an activity which is scheduled to begin in the afternoon and said the union would not be attending.

“Had the PSU called it members out for half day protest, most Dominicans would call them wicked,” Letang noted.

Letang also has grave concerns about the lack of transparency and accountability in the governance of the country’s affairs.

“We are serious about this matter and my executive will be meeting as early as next week to take a decision as to how we are going to demonstrate our dissatisfaction with the missing $1.2 billion and to come up with ways where we  can involve our members and rest of Dominica can see what our position is.”





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Dominica

Savahnn James is Miss Dominica 2020

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James is crowned by Miss Dominica 2019, Marisol John

Dominica has a new Carnival Queen. She is 20-year-old Savahnn James who beat six other contestants to clinch the title at the Miss Dominica 2020 pageant which was held last night.

James won the awards for Best Talent and Best Response to Question on her way to the crown.

Shannon Connor St Hilaire secured the 2nd runner-up spot. She won the awards for Miss Photogenic, Best Costume, Best in Costume, and Best Evening Wear

The first runner-up position went to Primrose Angel David. She won the awards for Best Swimwear, Best in Swimwear and Best in Evening Wear.

Melanie Charles took the award for Miss Amity.

The other contestants were Kadisha Joseph of Fond Cole, Kimra Charles also representing Fond Cole and Elnarrah Emmanuel representing Kingshill and Grandbay.

The pageant took place at Windsor Park Sports Stadium.





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ANNOUNCEMENT: Dominica Manufacturer’s Association Symposium

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The Dominica Manufacturers Association (DMA) Invites the public, specifically ALL manufacturers to a National Symposium on Manufacturing as we seek to charter the way forward for the sector.

The public is encouraged to stop by our POP-UP SHOP where local products will be available at discounted prices, coupons will be available, prizes and surprises!

DON’T YOU MISS IT!





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Skerrit – Caricom support ‘overwhelming’ for Baroness Scotland

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Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit – File Photo

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said heads of government of CARICOM have expressed their “overwhelming” support for the renewal of the term of office for Secretary General Baroness Scotland.

Scotland, a Dominican by birth is under pressure from the international community to resign from her position of Secretary General of the Commonwealth.

But Skerrit who spoke on the sidelines of the Thirty-First Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Bridgetown, said the grouping is standing behind Scotland.

He said at the meeting, heads of governments also expressed their gratitude for her achievement during her tenure.

“Heads of governments expressed our gratitude for the range of activities undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat whose added value redounded to the benefit of small island and low lying coastal developing states,” he said.

According to Skerrit who has been one of Scotland’s main supporters, the heads of government also expressed support for the renewal of the term of office of the secretary general.

“We do hope that when we meet in Rwanda, the current holder of the post of secretary general will receive a second term in that very important office,” he said.

Skerrit said heads of CARICOM also engaged Scotland “directly and frankly” on the issues leveled against her in the media.

But he said CARICOM remained satisfied and accepted the responses given by her as “legitimate”.

The questions about Scotland’s future leadership of the Commonwealth came after she was criticized by internal auditors last November for awarding a lucrative consultancy contract to a company run by her friend.

The audit committee report also found that the Secretariat had no register of either tender waivers or conflicts of interest and was unable to explain why not.

That committee also identified 50 occasions between July 2015 and June 2018 when the usual procurement tenders had been waited by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Baroness Scotland has always denied any wrongdoing

Scotland’s four-year term of office as secretary general comes to an end next month.

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be backing moves to persuade Amina Mohamed, a 58-year-old Kenyan politician, to challenge Baroness Scotland if she refuses to stand down.





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