Skerrit to UN – I come to you straight from the front line of the war on climate change

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, calling on countries around the world to lend “rescue and rebuilding equipment” to his decimated country which he said, “reflects a zone of war”.

“With physical and emotional difficulty, I have left my bleeding nation to be with you here today because these are the moments for which the United Nations exists,” Skerrit said in an address which lasted 17 minutes.

The Dominican leader used his address to focus on the challenges faced by Caribbean countries as a result of climate change and appealed for help to rebuild his country which is home to 72,000 people.

“In the case of Dominica, it has been only two years since we lost lives and endured substantial physical and infrastructural damage from the ravages of the floods and mud slides of Tropical Storm Erika,” he said.

“To deny climate change is to procrastinate while the earth sinks; it is to deny a truth we have just lived.

“It is to mock thousands of my compatriots who in a few hours, without a roof over their heads, will watch the night descend on Dominica in fear of sudden mud slides and what the next hurricane may bring,” Skerrit added.

He pointed out that Dominica and the rest of the Caribbean did not start this war against nature, neither did they provoke it but the war had come to them.

And he said there is little time left for action.

“While the big countries talk, the small island nations suffer. We need action and we need it now. We in the Caribbean do not produce greenhouse gases or sulphate aerosols. We do not pollute or overfish our oceans. We have made no contribution to global warming that can move the needle. But yet, we are among the main victims on the frontline,” Skerrit said.

“In the Commonwealth of Dominica, we have long pursued and respected an existence that preserves our Little Eden.

“But what is our reality at this moment?  Pure devastation, as Dominicans bear the brunt of climate change. We are shouldering the consequences of the actions of others.  Actions that endanger our very existence and all for the enrichment of a few elsewhere.

“We dug graves today in Dominica. We buried loved ones yesterday and I am sure that as I return home tomorrow, we shall discover additional fatalities, as a consequence of this encounter. Our homes are flattened. Our buildings roofless. Our water pipes smashed and road infrastructure destroyed. Our hospital is without power and schools have disappeared beneath the rubble. Our crops are uprooted. Where there was green there is now only dust and dirt,” he said.

Hurricane Maria hit Dominica as a category five storm on Monday leaving 15 confirmed deaths and more than 20 missing and presumed dead.

“The stars have fallen. Eden is broken,” Skerrit said.

“The nation of Dominica has come here to declare an international humanitarian emergency. One that is centred in Dominica but also encompasses many of our neighbours including our sister isle, Antigua which had to evacuate its citizens from Barbuda.

“The time has come for the international community to make a stand and to decide whether it will be shoulder to shoulder with those suffering the ravages of climate change worldwide. Whether we can mitigate the consequences of unprecedented increases in sea temperatures and levels; whether to help us rebuild sustainable livelihoods; or whether the international community will merely show some pity now, and then flee; relieved to know that this time it was not you.”

The Prime Minister called on the UNGA to let these extraordinary events unleash the innovation and creativity of global citizens to spark a new paradigm of green economic development that stabilizes and reverses the consequences of human-induced global warming.

“We will rebuild our Garden of Eden again for our children and for future generations,” Skerrit promised.

But right now, he said the country needs all the things required in a natural disaster.

“We need water, food and emergency shelter. We need roads, bridges and new infrastructure. But we also need capabilities of delivery,” he said.

“I call upon those with substantial military capacities to lend us the rescue and rebuilding equipment that may be standing idle waiting for a war; Let Dominica today be that war, because currently, our landscape reflects a zone of war.

“The battle we face has brought us to our knees. We need resources now so that we may move with purpose to the task of rebuilding our beautiful island home.”

21 Responses to Skerrit to UN – I come to you straight from the front line of the war on climate change

  1. Camille September 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    When a leader speaks!!!

  2. Jennifer September 23, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Mr Skerrit you said so much heavy stuff here today. What you said will also apply to all the leaders of the other islands of the Caribbean. But, this is what happens when you allow your people to get systematically pigeon holed. As you call it – Human induced climate change like most things in this matrix will happen regardless of what is done or not done and the people whom you are addressing knows that full well.

    • Jennifer September 23, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      “While the big countries talk, the small island nations suffer”. This is like a rich man saying to a poor man, Why are you upset about being poor?????? More devastation will come world wide.

  3. Tony Webster September 23, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    If this will not move hearts and hands, nothing will. The raison d’être of the United Nations now hangs by a thread.
    Meanwhile, this Bajan can say that there are many brothers and sisters of whom I am tremendously proud, right now loading containers headed up to Dominica. Get your donations (tarpaulins, water, baby formula, dry foodstuffs, are top priority) to the open containers opposite the Do-It-Best depot In Webster Industrial Park, today, tomorrow, or by latest Monday noon.
    Extend your hearts, and hands please!

  4. Sunshine Sunny Shine September 23, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    A very moving speech.

  5. Jeanetha Callender
    Jeanetha Callender September 23, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    PM Skerrit u made me cry…all will be well…

  6. Anna trotman September 23, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I do have great respect for you Mr. Skerrit …

    I felt the pain you are feeling.

    May God guide you to continue to guide your people.

    All my prayers go out to you all

    Love from friend from another island. St.Kitts

    Anna Trotman

  7. Ashanda Coward
    Ashanda Coward September 23, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    This is man who is fighting.for his country yah. Wish some leaders were like him, d man went to the UN to meet on the behalf of his people, some would say he do it for props or votes but you know when someone is sincere. And he has shown it, God bless you sir.

  8. Alex Alleyne September 23, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    This should be taken up at the UN as a CARICOM speech.

  9. Alex Alleyne September 23, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Pass this speech on to Prime Minister KEITH CLAUDIUS MITCHELL (CARICOM). Give him a plane ticket to NEW YORK CITY . United Nations headquarters…….ASAP.

  10. Jeanetha Callender
    Jeanetha Callender September 23, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    All of us need help ..but PM Skerrit & his people NEED IT MORE. ..

  11. Adrian Allison
    Adrian Allison September 23, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    An example of a leader,
    A lesson to be taught……
    A lesson to be learned…..
    A stance to be emulated.

  12. Joe Daniel
    Joe Daniel September 23, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Here in Canada we have climate change. It’s called four seasons, spring, summer, autumn, winter!! Climate changes with the rotation of the earth, and with volcanoes and earthquakes and the moving of the waters that are always moving, only the foolish pays attention to government that goes on about this only to raise taxes to fill their pockets while laughing at the stupidity of people that believe them!

    • Charly Bamboo
      Charly Bamboo September 24, 2017 at 5:06 am

      The Sheeple will always believe the Government.

    • Ashanda Coward
      Ashanda Coward September 24, 2017 at 7:43 am

      At such a moment of a man making a request to help rebuild his country you could come with such a stupid comment???? Smh

    • Joe Daniel
      Joe Daniel September 24, 2017 at 8:49 am

      The lie would die when stupid people stop feedings the lie!! Wake up and smell what you and the masses are shoveling!! Don’t try to condemn me with your lies and stupidity, I have every right to point out hypocrites and liars, and I’m sure only the people that desire Truth will find what I say True!! Have a nice day!

  13. Ralph Henry September 24, 2017 at 3:40 am

    Today, it has been Dominica. Tomorrow, it is any one of our Caribbean Island states with hurricanes in a warmer Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Prime Minister Skerritt has spoken on behalf of all of us. We need at the same time to have a collective Caribbean response, which includes short term assistance for Dominica and a plan of action for the long term. And lest we forget, our islands are on a fault line on the earth’s crust.

  14. Sonia Brathwaite
    Sonia Brathwaite September 24, 2017 at 8:17 am

    My heart bleeds for Dominica, i love this country. Was so beautiful and Dominica you will rise again and be stronger. Mr Skerritt love his country and is doing all he can to help.

  15. Ziggy Blessed
    Ziggy Blessed September 24, 2017 at 8:42 am

    beautiful speech from a man who truly loves his people……we had leaders like this in BIM once……we bajans will help you rebuild and much as we can….hopefully the international community hear your cry…..

  16. Heartfelt September 24, 2017 at 9:41 am

    When I saw Prime Minister Skerrit moved to tears, it hurt me to the core of my heart. It also brought tears to my eyes. He is one committed man to his country. May all his efforts be fruitful and may some peace, comfort and joy fill his heart in the near future. God bless you Mr Pm. Be brave and be strong.

  17. janette reifer September 24, 2017 at 10:35 am

    This is what I was saying for a very long time.
    PM Skeritt is a man of wisdom and understanding.
    I am so very proud of him and to have a PM of this calibre from the Caribbean. He stands tall against any other PM or President.
    May the Most High continue to be with him.
    Blessings on him.
    He gave me chills reading his speech…Believe it ir nit!

    PM Skeritt to the world.


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