Last week, officials in Dominica announced that another 114 families will be ready to move into their new homes by April 2019. This is the second batch of the Bellevue Chopin Project handover after the first 38 families received their keys in December last year. The project is part of the Housing Revolution Programme, which was the Dominican Government’s response to the housing crisis following Storm Erika in 2015 and Hurricane Maria in 2017.
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The ambitious housing initiative is funded entirely by the country’s successful Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme after it registered an exceptional boost of confidence from investors in 2018. PWM’s CBI Index ranked Dominica the best country for second citizenship by investment. The Financial Times also recognized Dominica’s efforts in due diligence, while Parliament recently passed legislation to further align its fiscal policies with those of its international partners. As a result, investors were said to trust Dominica most when choosing where to acquire second citizenship from in 2018.
The Housing Revolution – a project initiated by Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit – will see ten development areas being built across the island. The Bellevue Chopin Housing Project was the first to be ready for occupancy and will accommodate a total of 340 families. Most of the other projects will be completed throughout 2019. All of them follow the new Build Back Better code, which aims to prepare Dominica to withstand even category 5 hurricanes with minimal disruption. Besides the brand-new public housing developments, the Dominican Government is also refurbishing existing homes across the 73,500-population island. In September 2018, Deputy Prime Minister of Dominica, Reginald Austria, said that 12,000 homes have already been renovated within a year, describing the progress as “remarkable”.
Despite previous weather challenges on the island, the country has managed an exceptional economic recovery, with UN ECLACexpecting Dominica to showcase the highest GDP growth in the Caribbean this year. The small island’s resilience bid is long-term, as Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit pledged to make it “the world’s first climate resilient nation”. Dominica also started implementing a series of green initiatives, such as a comprehensive single-use plastic ban and building a geothermal plant, also financed by Dominica’s CBI Programme.