China’s influence in the Caribbean is growing steadily, and Dominica is one of the many islands in the region that is reaping the benefits.
The global economic powerhouse has been instrumental in fulfilling Dominica’s biggest projects for its people—from the climate-resilient homes and schools to agricultural and healthcare facilities.
“The bilateral relations [of China and Dominica] have constantly reached a new level and [have] become a model of mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation between countries of different sizes,” said Chinese Ambassador to Dominica Lin Xianjiang in a statement for China’s National Day on October 1st.
Certainly the relationship between the two countries have changed drastically over the years, especially when current Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit assumed office in 2004.
“When I took the bold decision to establish formal ties with China in 2004, I did so with the interest, and [the] wellbeing of Dominican people was my foremost concern and the respect of international law that there is but one China. Years later, we have had ample evidence that this was a sound decision which has enhanced the lives of the Dominican people and contributed to our country’s advancement in several development sectors,” Skerrit shared at the launching ceremony of the Dominica China Friendship Association last September.
The association was formed to help strengthen and create stronger bilateral relations between the two countries amid the “great economic and social uncertainty worldwide.”
Last year, the two countries signed an agreement on mutual visa exemption, encouraging their citizens to visit each other’s countries without the hassle of visa applications.
At present, the two newly completed and furnished in-patient buildings of the Dominica China Friendship Hospital has been handed over by the Chinese team after doing a careful inspection on its integrity and capability to offer a first-class service to the Dominicans. A budget of 1 million USD is soon to be donated by China for the two brand new ambulance cars and an echo-cardiogram of the cardiology department, according to Lin.
Meanwhile, a private heavy construction services company, China Railway No. 5 Engineering Group Co. Ltd., has been recently awarded the contract to construct Dominica’s first international airport, after winning the bid against five other contractors.
Dubai-based developing company MMC Development Ltd. was in charge of looking for the contractor for the airport that will be funded by the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme.
A long-standing partner of the government of Dominica, the MMC Development Ltd. has also been helping the island to build back better infrastructures following the destruction caused by Typhoon Erika in 2015 and Hurricane Maria in 2017. Numerous houses and healthcare facilities have been completed by the company, and are now being enjoyed by the residents.
“They are the best choice. We are confident that CR5 can complete the airport project construction with quality and quantity within the contract period,” said Anthony Haiden, MMC Development Ltd.’s CEO, in a previous interview.
“As the Chinese Ambassador to Dominica, I would like to continue to make unremitting efforts to push forward bilateral relations, pragmatic cooperation in all fields, and constant exchanges at all levels, making China-Dominica friendship rooted in the hearts of the two peoples,” said Ambassador Lin.
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