A capacity building project of over 8 million Caribbean Dollars has been launched in the Carib Territory of Dominica. The project was first considered in 2005, when submitted to the Caribbean Development Bank, but economic conditions necessitated its deferral until mid 2007.
(Pictured at left: Salybia Church)
Caribbean Net News reports "a high level of flexibility" in the project's structure, which is directed at both individual and institutional capacity-building in the territory, and includes provisions for the Caribbean indigenous community (Kalinago people) making up around 4% of the population. The Kalinago people are governed by the Carib Chief and Council, both elected by the people. Prensa Latina reports, "A total of 3,000 Kalinagos (Caribbean) indigenous people are living in 5.8 square miles in the northeast of the island of Dominica, where they maintain the traditions of their ancestors, despite the colonization processes to which they were submitted, and they resisted." The article suggests that the extreme moutainous landscape supported the survival of the indigenous community during the invasion of colonizers.
The Project Steering Committee, chaired by Dr Charles Corbette, will coordinate and supervise the projects in collaboration with the Carib Council. Dr Corbette explains: "The capacity building project will see the construction of a new road from the Salybia Catholic Church to the Kalinago Barana Aute as well as a link road from the Horseback Ridge Road to the hamlet of Concord. In addition, resource centers will be built in St Cyr and Bataca and the project will also include the rehabilitation of the existing road from the Carib Council Office to the end of the Horseback Ridge Road."
The work of past Carib Chief, Garnette Joseph, was acknowledged by the Ministry of Carib Affairs (the portfolio of which includes the Carib Council). Parliamentary Representative, Kelly Graneau (the first ever Carib Head of Carib Affairs), believes the resource centres should be named after Joseph in respect for his work and support in the early development of the project, saying: “If I had my way, I would do Mr Joseph the honor and name the resource centers after him; he has done a great job and this gesture should not go unnoticed." Graneau contested the Carib Chief elections in 1999, losing to Joseph.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has spoken in support of the Kalinago people and notes various capacity-building projects, including the construction of Salybia School, housing projects, free transportation and education scholarships, declaring: “This government has made every effort to meet the needs of the Carib people ... The Carib Chief himself announced and confirmed recently on national television that all the projects which are mentioned here are being undertaken in your community.”