Updated: August 12, 2018

Dominicans are coming to terms with the reality that the beloved Ross University School of Medicine, RUSM, has exited Dominica and will no longer be situated in Picard. For those whose livelihoods will be directly impacted, they must deal with the realization that they have to change course.  Many wonder how something so economically catastrophic was allowed to happen?  Dominicans have constantly been bombarded from the Labor Party Administration with the slogan that "leadership is everything". So where was the leadership in this matter? What kind of leadership would allow such a huge portion of the economy to disappear? The answer is leadership with no vision.

Can anyone dispute the fact that RUSM would still be secure in Dominica if the leaders understood the importance and potential of such an establishment? Maybe they are unaware that Universities and Medical centers have revitalized dying towns or lead to the development of new cities in the United States of America; for example, Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Gainesville, Florida.  Ross University was the perfect anchor, around which to create a Medical District in Picard, thereby revitalizing Portsmouth, Dominica's 2nd town.  It is distressing to realize that RUSM was only seen by the Labor Administration as potential for private profit but not the public development of Picard and Portsmouth.  A medical district in Picard would have been a first for Dominica. It is obvious that, as recent as 2013, RUSM had no intention of leaving Dominica; indeed, they had ambitious expansion plans. 

Presently, it is important to ask what was the leadership plan and response to this initiative when RUSM signed the contract in March 2013 for their mega expansion? Did the Labor Administration just sit on their laurels and strategize how they could capitalize privately on RUSM or did they explore how the Administration could improve the situation for RUSM? The university had concerns of which the Administration was well aware!.  A visionary leader would have asked how can I and Dominica make life better for this corporation that is willing to invest such huge sums?  A practical and visionary approach would have been to construct a Hospital at Picard.  It was not that difficult. There was CBI money. UNOPS (United Nations Projects and Services) could deliver a Smart Hospital in 18 months. With the growth in Medical Tourism and Education Tourism, it would not be onerous to sell such investment.  Instead, this myopic administration went all out investing in Large Hotels, an idea that is going the way of the dinosaurs. People want  Wellness Centers, for example where they can come to focus on health improvement; they want to live long lives to enjoy their wealth and environment.

These vision-less leaders failed the people of Portsmouth.  Dominica's second town was sitting on the cusp of  a potential development boom which was snuffed out by an inept Administration which lacked foresight and innovation.  Did it have to take the departure of RUSM to establish a Ferry service from Guadeloupe? Shame!  It is baffling to witness the lack of foresight;  to see that Portsmouth has many areas in which public/private partnerships could have worked. Establishing green spaces, revitalizing the downtown and tying the town to the Cabrits.  Where are the Museums? Could a partnership be establish  the Indian River into a profitable venture  become a place where visitors can relax along its banks.  How about moving some Government offices  to Portsmouth? Roseau is bursting at the seams. Read here. Stop punishing the rest of the Country just to feed selfish egos!

This sad story could continue. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that in 2018, this administration is ill-equipped to lead Dominica. First to take the hit from poor vision was Agriculture and now the highest poverty rate on island exist in the Agricultural belt ( St.David, St. Joseph and St. Andrews Parishes respectively). For the past 18 years Dominica has endured mediocrity that seems to be accepted as 'normal'.  This administration is so consumed with winning elections that they lack capacity to strategize for the country. Leadership with vision, knowing how badly their agricultural sector was impacted, would have done everything in their power to keep RUSM rooted in Dominica. This country needs leadership with vision and foresight who can inspire people to visualize Dominica as a modern country where all communities, businesses and business ideas can be utilized. 

A  video put out by Aerial View  6 months post Maria shows the massive potential of this area. Watch Here