Media Center

Press Release


  October 26, 2007

Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General José Miguel Insulza wrapped up his first official visit to the Commonwealth of Dominica today, after meeting with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in Roseau, with “a portfolio of projects” to move forward with OAS-Dominica cooperation.

“We had very constructive meetings,” Secretary General Insulza declared at the end of the visit that began Wednesday evening and during which he renewed to the Prime Minister and other members of the country’s leadership the pledge to strengthen relations with the Caribbean nation. “It’s an incredible country, with incredible geography,” the Secretary General remarked. “It’s a beautiful country, especially for eco-tourism and related activities.”

He commended Dominica on its economic development and on its efforts at institutional strengthening, and spoke of very important projects on which the OAS would follow up to strengthen cooperation in support of the island’s development efforts, primarily through projects on civil registry, youth skills training and disaster mitigation, among others.

In separate meetings Thursday with Dominica’s President, Nicholas Liverpool, and with the then Acting Prime Minister Ambrose George, the Secretary General explained that the hemispheric organization stands ready to assist in expanding the coverage of the island’s civil registry and its institutional maintenance under an approach that will also benefit the voter’s list, without duplicating efforts. The project under reference will draw on the successful experience with similar projects pursued in a number of other Member States.

Under the OAS’ program, civil registries are viewed as vital tools for national development, based on performance that is measured by three major indicators—completeness, currency and accuracy. For the OAS, an up-to-date civil register that performs well on these key indicators can facilitate national development planning by enabling the production of vital statistics as the basis for sound decision-making in the public and private sectors as well as for services delivery and universal access to such services.

Insulza also reviewed with George—who is the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructural Development—a number of key OAS programs and examined OAS-Dominica cooperation around such initiatives as skills training for at-risk youth and for those in juvenile detention. Among other objectives, this program provides at-risk youth with appropriate training to enhance their job prospects. Minister George also raised with Secretary General Insulza the possibility of exploring OAS technical assistance in finding civil engineers and structural engineers to help rebuild roads and other infrastructure following Hurricane Dean this past summer. Senator Colin McIntyre—whose ministerial portfolios include trade, industry, consumer affairs and private sector relations—took Insulza and his OAS team to view some of the damage inflicted by Hurricane Dean.

The discussions also touched on the eco-tourism potential of Dominica, preparations for the Fifth Summit of the Americas to be held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009, and the situation in Latin America and the Caribbean—characterized by general improvement in economic development and democracy, with some reduction in poverty. However, Insulza noted remaining challenges posed by such phenomena as crime and violence, natural disasters and a rapidly deteriorating environment.

Both President Liverpool and Acting Prime Minister George thanked the OAS for its longstanding support to the nation’s development efforts over the years, noting how vital that assistance has been. Afterwards, Secretary General Insulza met with members of the Dominica Cabinet led by the Acting Prime Minister. The cabinet members outlined specific areas of priority established by the government and pointed to areas in which strategic assistance was needed.

The OAS Secretary hosted a press conference later in the day, accompanied by Senator Colin McIntyre and OAS Country Representative in Dominica, Paul Brown.

In his first official activity of the visit, which ended Friday morning, Secretary General Insulza attended the inauguration of Dominica’s new Windsor Park Sports Stadium, situated in the heart of capital city Roseau. He was accompanied on the visit by the Director of the OAS Summits Secretariat, Carmen Marina Gutierrez; David Morris, of the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI); and Paloma Adams-Allen, Advisor.

After Dominica, the Secretary General heads to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for an official visit with Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and senior authorities.

Reference: E-269/07