Dominica’s determination in the age of the climate crisis has set an example on the world’s stage by becoming a model for climate resiliency. Thanks to Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, ‘the island stands stronger than ever.’
As a tropical island blessed with beaches, abundant rainforest- draped mountains and hot springs, the Commonwealth of Dominica has emerged from disaster as an eco-aware paradise that has found a sweet spot to balance a range of evocative boutique hotels and luxury spas. The island has rebranded itself as a compelling destination for quality family time and adventure sports.
However, Dominica’s wins did not come easy. The nation’s determination in the age of the climate crisis has set an example on the world’s stage. When the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, 65 people were killed and 90 per cent of the island’s infrastructure was wiped out. “Our green forests were stripped of their leaves and homes built on riverbanks swept off to sea,” said the Caribbean island’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit.
Dominica: A model for climate resiliency
In this time of crisis, the Prime Minister, who once held the title of the youngest head of government in the democratic world, responded strategically by issuing The Resiliency Act.
The Act, which aims to make Dominica the world’s first climate resilient country, included the launching of the Housing Revolution, an initiative designed to build hurricane-resilient housing for all Dominicans.
“To deny climate change… is to deny a truth we have just lived,” said the Prime Minister.
The new homes, according to him, are constructed with the purpose of withstanding natural disasters and have features like reinforced concrete. Roofs have also been re-engineered to use screws rather than nails and they are built at a steep angle to withstand high winds.
All housing projects are fully financed by Dominica’s world-leading Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme. “Dominican citizens love the Programme because of the direct bene t they can see. Our National Employment Programme, our infrastructure – schools, roads, hospitals – were all rebuilt using money from the Citizenship by Investment Programmes,” said the Prime Minister, who has now led the
country for almost 16 years.
Introduced in 1993, Dominica’s CBI Programme is recognised as the world’s best offering for second citizenship. Under the programme, investors gain Dominican citizenship once making a financial contribution to the nation. Not only does the Programme encourage direct foreign investment, and facilitate growth in the country’s private sector, but it “prioritises environmentally friendly projects,” according to Prime Minister Skerrit.
“Through CBI, foreign investors help [the island] pave a path to resiliency while reaping the benefits of representing a strong nation,” he said.
By making an investment into either Dominica’s government fund, or pre- approved eco-luxury real estate, well-vetted applicants are rewarded with visa-free access to 140 countries and territories and the ability to pass citizenship to future generations.
Another project funded by the CBI Programme is Dominica’s new geothermal energy plant, he said, which aims to help the island combat climate change, reduce energy costs and relieve reliance on imported fossil fuels. The plant can drive the country’s energy mix to 51 per cent renewables and generate seven megawatts of clean energy across its population. “Eventually, we will export green energy to nearby territories like Martinique and Guadeloupe,” he added.
Beaming with lush mountains and a river for each day of the year, Dominica’s rehabilitation of its tourism sector has also been vital in infusing resilience into its economy. Through CBI’s real estate investment option, the country has approved several luxury hotels and eco-resorts.
“To be approved, we ensure the project maintains sustainability and contributes to the green economy… that is key for us,” Prime Minister Skerrit said.
Properties like the Kempinsiki’s Cabrits Report & Spa, Marriott’s Anichi Resort & Spa, Bois Colette, Jungle Bay Eco Villas, Hilton’s Tranquillity Beach and Secret Bay employ hundreds of locals, implement environmentally friendly practices and strengthen Dominica’s growing economy while providing investors with a secure and stable route to second citizenship.
Prime Minister Skerrit says that “Dominicans know that this Programme helps the more fortunate and the ones who need it more.” CBI helps ensure the island can bounce back in a matter of weeks and not months if faced with adversity. Dominica has also been internationally recognised as offering the world’s best Programme for four consecutive years by the Financial Times’ PWM magazine, “so investors can rest assured that despite its size, Dominica offers an abundance of opportunities.”
This story first appeared in the 2021 print issue of Truly Belong under the title “Dominica: This Caribbean Island Provides a Template for Climate Resilience”.