Parliamentary representative for the Mahaut Constituency Julian Prevost, who recently won the by-election in that Constituency, Dominica Labour Party, DLP, new Senators, Kelly Graneau from the Carib territory and Osborne A Rivierre of Colihaut. The two DLP candidates failed to win their seat in the 1995 General Elections on June 12.
The swearing in of Julian Prevost increases the United Workers Party position to a three seat majority in parliament, and the DLP strengthened its position to nine with the appointment of two senators, while the Dominica Freedom Party was reduced to four.
Prime Minister Edison James in his welcoming remarks described the New UWP parliamentary Representative as a capable and Charismatic young man with a vision. He said he is convinced that Mister Prevost will be an asset to the house. While welcoming the two Labour Party senators to the House, the Prime Minister appealed for their co-operation in the development thrust of the country which he says they are all a part of.
Dominica Labour Party Leader Rosie Douglas in his welcome message, appealed to the new parliamentarians to take their duties seriously. For the Dominica Freedom Party Leader Charles Savarin, he urged the new members to get acquainted with the many issues of the day such as the problems facing the banana industry, the hospital user fees and land issues. He said these are among the challenges which the new parliamentarians will have to get familiar with in order to properly articulate them to the people.
Other words of welcome and congratulatory messages came from other members of the house from both the government and opposition sides. It was then time for thank-you responses from the new members. United Workers Party member for the Mahaut Constituency Julian Prevost, thanked the members of the house for the words of welcome and the members of his constituency for their vote of confidence in his appointment as a new member of parliament.
Mr. Prevost spoke of his development plans for the constituency and urged them to put aside their political differences and work towards the overall development of the constituency.
For the Dominica Labour Party Senator Kelly Graneau, in his maiden address in Parliament commented on the behaviour of Parliamentarians in the house as far from desirable. He said his presence in the house increases the power of the voice of the country's indigenous people.
The new Senator extended a hand of friendship to the United Workers Party's MP Francois Barrie who is the Parliamentary Representative for the Salybia Constituency, and expressed a willingness to work with him and any other government for the advancement of the cause of the Carib people.
The Other Dominica Labour Party Senator Osborne Riviere said he was satisfied with the warm reception he received, and that he looked forward to fulfilling the new responsibility which has been placed on his shoulders.
Before the adjournment of the House late on Wednesday evening, one of the three Bills before Parliament was passed without debate from Parliamentarians. An Act to Amend the Dominica Agricultural Industrial and Development Bank Act, (CHAP. 74:03).
The four amends short titled :
DOMINICA AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRIAL AND DEVELOPMENT BANK (AMENDMENT) ACT 1996.
(2) In this Act the Dominica Agricultural Industrial and Development Bank is referred to as "the Act".
(3) Section 13 of the Act is repealed and replaced as follows:
13-1 The business of the Bank shall be the - (a) making of loans and advances, and (b) participation in the share capital or management of any enterprise, in accordance with the provision of this Act.
(4) Section 17 of the Act is amended as follows:
(a) inserting the following as subsection (2): "(2) The Bank may accept any sums deposited with it by associations, bodies corporate, co-operative societies, individuals or public bodies and pay interest thereon as it considers necessary to encourage such deposits.": (b) by replacing the word, sign and figure "subsection (2)" in subsection (3) with the word, sign and figure "subsection (3)": and by renumbering subsections "(2)" and "(3)" as subsections "(3)" and "(4)".
The objects and reasons for the Bill is to allow the Bank to accept deposits and to pay interest thereon and to participate in the share capital and management of enterprises.
The other two Bills Parliament will debate are : An Act To Sanction Certain Payments From The Consolidated Fund Of Dominica In Excess Of The Sum Provided By Law For The Services Of The Commonwealth Of Dominica During The Year Ended The Thirtieth Day Of June, 1996. And An Act To Amend the Registration Of Ships Act, (Chap. 48:01).
Parliament also approved Nine Hundred Thousand dollars for the construction of a new bridge over the Belfast River.
When the House was adjourned on Thursday 29 June, Parliamentarians were debating a Bill in the name Minister of Community Development Gertrude Roberts, to repeal the old Co-operative Societies Act, and replace it with a new one.
Mr. Birmingham says the new Act which replaces the previous one of 1983, gives the commissioner of Co-operatives more authority to regulate credit unions. He added that the Act will add more responsibility on the management of credit unions to manage the society's affairs more efficiently.
However, Mr. Birmingham says there are certain sections of the Act which the board of directors and members have difficulties with which need to be amended.
The "Act" to make provision for the registration, supervision and management of co-operative societies and to repeal the Co-operative Societies Act, came up at the Second Meeting of the Second Session of the Fifth Parliament, which started on August 28th at the Dominica House of Assembly, for the third and second reading. The bill was passed but not before opposition members argued that while they support the bill, there are areas which should be amended like the section dealing with voluntary service.
Still on the Order Paper to be debated in Parliament at the next sitting is a motion for the implementation of a crop diversification program in the name of Labour Party Senator Ambrose George , and a motion to review hospital fees, and its administration, by Parliamentary Representative for the Soufriere Constituency, Charles Maynard, did not come-up for debate during this sitting of Parliament.
Presentation of papers laid on the Table came from Hon. Minister for Health and Social Security, Mrs. Doreen Paul , who presented the Annual Report and Financial Statements of the Dominica Social Security for the year ended December 31, 1994.
From Hon. Minister for Finance, Industry and Planning, Mr. Julius Timothy, the schedule of Supplementary Estimates for the financial year ended 30th June, 1996, and Commonwealth of Dominica Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 70th Birthday Commemorative Issue Stamp Order, 1996, the Commonwealth of Dominica Beijing Commemorative Issue Stamp Order, 1996, Commonwealth Issue Stamp Order, 1996 and Definitive Issue Stamp Order, 1996, by the Hon. Minister for Communication, Works and Housing, Mr. Earl Williams.
Some 37 questions from opposition members were on the Order Paper to be answered during this sitting of Parliament. But, the House could only deal with 12 questions during the question and answer session. The remaining question may come up at the next sitting of Parliament
Honourable Member for the Portsmouth Constituency and Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Rosie Douglas, asked three questions. First to the Minister for Tourism, Ports, and Employment, Mr. Norris Prevost, one the Prime Minister Hon. Edison James and Minister for Affairs, Legal Affairs, and one to Minister for Agriculture and the Environment, Mr. Peter Carbon.
My Ministry has been collaborating with other interested parties such as the ministry of Agriculture and the Environment, the Portsmouth tour Guide Association, the Environmental and Coastal Resources Project (ENCORE), and representatives of some of the landowners in the area with a view of finding an acceptable frame-work. Because of the fact that all the lands identified for inclusion in the proposed park are presently privately owned, negotiations would have to be concluded with the owners and financing arrangements made.
In the interim, however, efforts are being made to provide improved facilities at the Indian River for both the visitors to our shores and our local tour guides. In this regard $100.000 has been budgeted under the ENCORE project to finance the construction of a small building in the area to provide office space for the tour guides, toilet facilities and souvenir shop for the visitors, and to serve as a tourist information centre for the area. Baring unforeseen developments work on this activity should commence within the next sixty days. An amount of $375.000 was provided for in the ENCORE Budget for the 1994/95 fiscal year but because the project activities were not implemented by the then Government the allocation has been reduced.
I would also like to inform this Honourable House that three tour guides operating in the Indian River are participated in the Tour Guide Stewardship Training Workshop held at Springfield during the period August 12 - 24, 1996. The workshop was jointly sponsored by the United States based the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Forestry and Wildlife Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment, in collaboration with the Tourism Division.
In addition, President of the Indian River Tour Guides, Mr. Andrew O'Brien, better known as cobra, was selected to be part of a team representing Dominica at the 5th Ecotourism Conference in Guadeloupe earlier this year.
The national committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation of the United States Department of Education is currently seeking to evaluate the standards of accreditation applied to medical schools outside of the United states of America to determine whether those standards are comparable to medical schools in the United States.
If it is determined that the country's standards and processes for accreditation are not comparable with that of US medical schools, then US students will no longer be eligible for foreign student loans to help with their tuition at these institution.
since 1994, a document outlining Dominica's standards and processes for accreditation of medical schools was submitted to the NCFMEA. In March 1996 officials from the United States Department of Education met with Ministry of Health Officials to further discuss the process. they made it clear that this was not specific to any particular medical school. Documents requested by the United States Department of Education were transmitted to NCFMEA.
The Honourable Prime Minister met officials from the United States Department of Education and officers from Ross University to discuss the situation. As a result of this meeting NCFMEA has given until November 1996 to respond to their follow up queries.
Construction of feeder roads is a function of the Ministry of Communications, Works and housing. However, the Ministry of Agriculture supports farmers efforts in the maintenance of their access roads by providing the services of heavy equipment.
At this time, the demand for maintenance of feeder roads is tremendous, therefore very little resources can be placed on the cutting of new roads but as funds become available these roads will be considered.
Senator the Hon. Ambrose George had two questions. One to the Prime
Minister to Edison James, and the other to the Minister for Agriculture and
the Environment, Mr. Peter Carbon.
The Japanese funded facility itself, is the stimulating factor to facilitate the islandwide process of increased productivity in the fishing sector.
Question by the Hon. Member for the Cottage Constituency, Mr. Reginald Austrie, to Hon. Mr. Peter Carbon.
Question: by Ossie Walsh Hon. Member for the Roseau South Constituency to Hon.Mr. Peter Carbon
(a) Yes, fishermen in the Roseau south constituency benefited from assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture under the Hurricane Relief Programmes:
The following items were granted:
Question: by Member of the Paix Bouche Constituency, Mr.Matthew Walter, to the Hon. Ronald Green Minister for Education, Sports and Youth Affairs.
Education is high priority of this Government.
This Government recognises the importance of Pre-School Education and also appreciates the collaborative efforts of the Private Sector, None Government Organisations (NGO's) and Teachers and Parents at community level in the delivery of this important service.
It is hoped that in the future, Government will, depending on resources available, be able to incorporate the Pre-School Programme, not necessarily by removing it from private hands but by a greater contribution to their efforts.
Question: by Hon. Mr. Reginald Austrie Member for Cottage Constituency to
Hon. Earl Williams Minister for Communication, Works and Housing.
Deterioration of Tantan/Capuchin road and temporary
The Ministry is aware of the deterioration of the Tantan/Capuchin road and is taking steps at rehabilitation under its roads and bridges maintenance programme. Such repair works are due to commence in the month of September.
Member for the Roseau Central Constituency and Leader of the Dominica Freedom Party, Charles A, Savarin ask two questions. One the Hon. Earl Williams and the other to Hon. Ronald Green.
(ii) The names, school and scores of all children scoring more than 235 points, (the lowest score on the least) and whose names do not appear on the Ministry of Education 1996 common Entrance Results list?
Government is of the view that it is inappropriate to disclose the names and the information sought by the Honourable Member in part two of the question.
Zoning has been a practice in the conduct of Common entrance Examinations since 1984. The consequence of zoning is that there will be differential cut off points, based on availability of space in the school of that zone.
The main issue is the rapid expansion of space availability relative to the school population in the zones, so as to achieve balance and equity in a system of zonal selection that has operated for thirteen (13) years.
Such expansion is vigorously being pursued with the planned construction of Castle Bruce Secondary School, GrandBay Secondary School and extension of Portsmouth Secondary School St. Andrew's Secondary School and others; not only to increase access, but provide for rural-urban balance, equity, plus fairness.
Prior to this Government coming into office, 711 (1994) were accepted to Secondary school. in 1996, this government offered 1,000 spaces.
This Government is ware that the zonal systems of Common entrance Examination selection to secondary school needs improvement, and is seeking actively to effect reform.
In that context, this Minister would welcome thought out, constructive proposals for adjustment of this zonal selection system, especially from former Ministers of Education who operated and managed the system, since expansion efforts expected to assist in achieving some balance and equity may not materialise until September 1998.
Question: from Hon. Urban Baron Member for the Petite Savanne Constituency, Hon. Earl Williams.
The House was adjourned sinedie on Friday 30 August, 1996, just before mid-day.