Dominica Mourns Loss of an Icon


The news that Ross University will permanently close in Dominica was a devastating blow to Dominicans. While there were rumors circulating on island for several weeks, many still did not want to believe it. Ross University was founded in 1978 and has been a part of the Dominican Community, especially the Northern part of the island, for the last 40 years.  This will be akin to being dealt a devastating body blow, since Ross and its operations account for about 30% of the economic activity in Dominica.

However, this decision comes as no surprise.  This Labor Party Administration, in its usual manner, is clueless as to what it takes to keep  a business committed. They continue to run government in 2018 as if they are running their kitchen and, in so doing, fail to realize that Ross University had evolved into a business conglomerate with shareholders.  Ross University was no longer the same University started by Mr. Ross in 1978 with 11 students.

What has this administration done for the University over the past 18 years? What incentives did they give the University to encourage them to stay and thus show them some kind of appreciation? What concerns did the University have? Were they addressed or ignored?  The University had issue with security? Did the administration build a police station in the area? What disaster plans were specifically instituted for the University?
Skerrit and his Labor Party administration treated Ross University the same way they treat Dominicans; they do not care. Many people have said that one of Ross's problem with Dominica was air access? What did the Skerrit Administration do about it? XCD  $100 mullion dollars was wasted on refurbishing flood-prone Melville Hall Airport.  Was that sufficient? No!  No one knows why Mr. Skerrit and his Labor Administration did not want to build an International Airport. One has to agree that shelving the UWP plan for an international Airport was a major blunder that may have cost Dominica 30% of its economic activity at a time when it can ill-afford this loss.

Yesterday, in his address to the Dominican public the prime Minister blamed Maria and Erica for Ross' final decision to move out of Dominica.  What he should have said is that Maria exposed the dysfunction and total lack of preparedness of his  administration's ability to deal with disasters. Which Prime Minister, totally ignores hurricane warnings and  remains in his home, which was not storm worthy, and tweets out those words  "rough, rough" .  Could Ross depend on someone like that to secure their students. No! Hurricane maria thus became an exit ramp for Ross University.

As Dominicans mourn the loss of an Institution that had been with them for 40 years, they must reflect on the reasons why such an important part of the Dominican Economy was allowed to slip away. They must ask themselves will this administration be capable of steering Dominica's economy in the post Maria era?

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