Friday 3rd November was designated by the Cabinet of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as Dominica Solidarity Day. To this end, a special ceremony was held on the grounds of the Financial Complex to commemorate the Commonwealth of Dominica’s 39th Anniversary of Independence.
At the ceremony, the flag of Dominica was hoisted next to the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines flag in front of the aforementioned building. The Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Band played the anthem of Dominica in commemoration of Dominica’s 39th Anniversary of Independence. There was also a moment of silence in recognition of the lives lost during the passage of Hurricane Maria.
Dominica will rise again – this sentiment was expressed by several speakers at the ceremony – including the President of the Dominican Association of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Mrs. Laura Browne. She stated that the passage of Hurricane Maria gave rise to the formation of the Dominican Association of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Mrs. Browne urged everyone to “stand with Dominica. Dominica will rise again! With Christ in the centre, with love and unity, Dominica will be rebuilt.”
Special t-shirts were printed to raise funds for Dominica, said Browne. She further stated that they are on sale at $50 and can be had at Aeropost. Mrs. Browne added that "next Friday [10th November] is officially going to be our t-shirt day when a lot more persons would be decked in the t-shirts all around town."
Resident of Dominica, Mr. Nelson Pierre, recalled the harrowing experience on the night of the passage of Hurricane Maria. Pierre said he is truly grateful to have survived the ordeal. One of the challenges facing Dominica right now, Pierre explained, is that the vegetation is almost bare. According to Pierre, the water quality has greatly improved and the health system is getting back on stream.
We have had volunteers from around the world that have come in to help in many ways, Pierre added. “We have had help from across the Caribbean, and for this we are very grateful,” he stated. To this end, he expressed thanks to the Government and People of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, "your help has been very tremendous – the support that you have given to us – our people recognise it and want to say thank you".
Speaking on behalf of Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves; Minister of Economic Planning, Hon. Camillo Gonsalves, offered the Government’s support to Dominica.
Minister Gonsalves affirmed: “We stand in solidarity – complete lockstep solidarity with the People of Dominica, in this most trying of Independence celebrations. We know that people in Dominica are celebrating Independence today without a roof, without electricity, without water, and we are proud as Vincentians, as OECS members, as members of CARICOM, as neighbours, as brothers, as friends – we are proud to say that we stand right by the side of the People of Dominica, not only today on their Independence but on every step of their journey of recovery and reconstruction.” He congratulated the members of the newly formed Dominican Association of Saint Vincentt and the Grenadines and friends for the solidarity they have shown. Minister Gonsalves also reiterated that “Dominica will rise again.”
Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Godwin Friday, also expressed solidarity with the Government and People of Dominica. In celebrating with Dominica’s national Independence, Dr. Friday stated, “I have no doubt that the spirit of resilience that the country has shown, that our region has shown over past years, will help Dominica to prevail, will help our OECS region to prevail, and that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will play its part in ensuring that, that brighter future comes for all of us.” In closing, he said his “heart and prayers go out to the people of Dominica.”