Dominica: EU-funded Waitukubuli National Trail Research Centre opens (02/11/2011)

An unprecedented number of European ambassadors from the EU, Finland, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom were present on 2 November 2011 at the opening of the Waitukubuli National Trail, Research and Interpretative Centre in Pont Casse, Dominica. This is the first occasion that such a significant large group of EU ambassadors, who are based both outside and within the region, took part in an EU-funded project in Dominica.

The facility which is part of the overall EU-funded EC$17 million Waitukubuli National Trail was inaugurated by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and Ambassador Valeriano Diaz, Head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

EU Ambassador Diaz who highlighted the involvement of local communities said: "The opening of this Interpretation and Research Facility also shows that this project is not solely about a trail but that there is an educational component, since the centre is expected to be integral in the dissemination of information as well as in the research of the 600 different plant species found in Dominica."

He is also quoted as saying: "The significant EU assistance rendered for this and other projects are meant to assist Dominica in diversifying its economy, in fighting poverty alleviation, promoting sustainable development and raising the standard of living of Dominicans."

The Centre consists of an administrative block, an interpretation and exposition room, a conference/audio visual room, a library and research centre, vendors' booths, a rescue room, quarters for the Division of Forestry, dormitory facilities for hikers, and a restaurant.

In June segments one to four of the 185 kilometre Waitukubuli National Trail were opened to the public for pilot operation. It is expected that the entire trail will be fully operation by the first half of 2012.

For further information contact Wayne Lewis, Press and Information Officer, at 434-8519 or wayne.lewis@eeas.europa.eu