Last updated: 05:00 PM ET, Tue September 15 2015

Dominica Cancels Music Festival as CTO Launches Post-Erika Relief Effort

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | September 15, 2015

Dominica Cancels Music Festival as CTO Launches Post-Erika Relief Effort

Photo via Flickr/Roosevelt Skerrit

Dominica’s government today announced the cancellation of the island nation’s annual World Creole Music Festival in the wake of the devastation caused earlier this month by tropical storm Erika.

Private sector entrepreneurs operating in Dominican have announced they will stage a series of relief concerts in place of the canceled festival, government officials said in a statement.

The relief events will take place from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, the days originally designated for the Creole Music festival, supporting the island’s reconstruction efforts by enabling “economic activity” in areas impacted by the storm.

“The government must re-prioritize following Tropical Storm Erika,” said Robert Tonge, Dominica’s minister for tourism and urban renewal.

“We must focus on rebuilding communities and infrastructure, and providing housing for those who were displaced,” he said. “We are grateful to the private sector for stepping in to ensure that Dominica’s strong music heritage will continue and bring additional relief efforts to [the country].”

Tropical storm Erika killed 30 Dominica residents and caused “monumental” damage to communities, buildings, roads and infrastructure across the country. Government officials estimate recovery costs will reach $220 million.

In a related initiative, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is seeking donations to its Relief Fund to assist the people and government of Dominica. CTO’s Relief Fund provides support for member countries impacted by natural disasters. Dominica is a CTO member country; the organization is “using all of its offices to facilitate the process,” said officials.

“In other times of need, the Caribbean as a region has generously come together to provide assistance to those devastated by natural disasters,” said Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general. “We are confident that this spirit of generosity will be evident once again.”

Checks payable to the CTO Relief Fund may be mailed to 80 Broad Street, 33rd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10004. Contributions to the CTO Relief Fund in the U.S. are not tax deductible. CTO is also working with a U.S.-based registered charity, the Association of Dominicans in the Northeast, to mobilize Dominicans, collect relief items and raise funds.

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