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Her Excellency President Sylvanie Burton vows to be a President for all Dominicans

Newly sworn-in President of Dominica, Her Excellency Sylvanie Burton has called for continued prayers and stated that she will be a President “for all Dominicans.”

In her first official speech after taking her oath as the 10th President of Dominica and the first woman to hold that post.

“I will be a President for all Dominicans, both here and abroad…I will not only be for the Kalinago, not only for the women but also a President for all–and let me (emphasize) all–the citizens of our beloved Dominica. I promise that I will serve you with the empathy which has nurtured over the hills and valleys of my
journey. I will serve you with the courage of my ancestry. And most importantly, I will serve you with dignity and honour,” Her Excellency stated.

She continued, “I will continue to pray for wisdom and understanding, as I have done at other critical junctures in my life. And I asked the entire nation to pray for me as I embark on this journey to continue unifying our country…”I did not ask for this great honour. I did not aspire to it…I could have never imagined nor even dreamt about it.”

“My joy is however tempered by the enormity of this moment in the history of our country. My gratitude goes out to my husband, my children, my relatives, colleagues, friends, and the Kalingo community that grew me into the person I am today,” she said.

She also acknowledged the historic and monumental nature of her Presidency and recognized the significance of this moment, not just for Dominica but also for her indigenous sisters and brothers worldwide, and gave a commitment to be a vocal advocate for “vulnerable women and children facing violations, abuse, and exploitation and expressed her intention to use her office to foster an enlightened approach to addressing the challenges these vulnerable citizen’s encounter.”

“It is not only women and girls that I am referring to because even though the issues may not entirely be the same, our young men are equally vulnerable,” she said.

She also spoke of the educational disparities, which are reflected in the enrollment and graduation numbers for the Dominica State College (DSC). This year’s numbers indicate a percentage of 73%, female, to 27% male, attending and graduating from this institution. This trend she said “is unsustainable and to reach the nation’s full potential, such will only change through targeted interventions”.

Her Excellency opined, that the educational gender gap among young men might be “linked to a growing disregard for the rule of law, a challenge even experienced by older democracies.”

“We cannot and must not allow a few elements in our society to threaten the peace and safety of our citizens, and negatively impact our reputation as one of the safest places in the world to live,” Her Excellency stated.

She also expressed concerns about preparing the youth for a world of “self-driving vehicles, robotics, and cutting-edge technologies” and called upon the nation to “guide and harness the energy and creativity of its youth to navigate this new technological landscape.”

“We must be agile, innovative, and bold as we chart our course in the world…to this end, we must use all the tools at our disposal, particularly our human resources, both here and in the diaspora to find solutions to the challenges that we face as a nation.”

Speaking on the issue of challenges facing climate change she stated that the effects of climate change are real and that more intense hurricanes, reduced rainfall, increasing temperatures, and rising sea levels threaten citizens’ survival.

She also encouraged every citizen to plant as many trees as possible and to “stop the cutting down of our forests indiscriminately.”

“Let us all play our part to ensure that the island remains pristine and greener for future generations. This is the message I intend to articulate often over the next five years,” she said.