DARCI new Executive

Photo caption: Standing from left to right: Hilkiah Lavinier, Gilbert George, Roger Blanchard, Clement Pierre-Louis and Earl Williams.
Sitting from left to right: Rudolph George, Clem James, Eric Cognet, John Christian, and Gordon Royer.

At their Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on January 10 2019, the Dominica Amateur Radio Club Inc. (DARCI) officially elected a new Board of Directors for the 2019-2020 executive years.

The club which was formed on November 28 1962 was conceptualized by the founders’ conviction that Amateur Radio operators (Hams, as they are widely known) should come together under the Motto ‘Drawing All Amateurs Closer’.
DARCI which aims to provide radio communications before, during and after disasters when all other normal means of communications have failed and in peace times, to assist social and other groups requiring radio communications; forms part of the Telecommunications Sub-Committee which is headed by the Commissioner of Police of the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force.
In September 2017, Hurricane Maria left a trail of destruction and despair in Dominica. Within 24 hours, the impact of this devastation became apparent to a shaken nation; roofs and houses were blown away, power and telephone lines were knocked down, and radio frequencies only gave out static.

No one could use their mobile phone to call or text. Suddenly, there was an urgent need to give and receive information.

In those chilling times before the national radio station resumed broadcasts, and while telecommunication providers grappled to re-establish connectivity, a team from DARCI stepped in to provide information to the rest of the world. DARCI was instrumental in facilitating relief and recovery efforts island-wide, while providing critical information to local and regional authorities, as well as communities.

Thanks to repeater sites, built to withstand heavy winds, local amateur radio operators were able to communicate before, during and after Maria. Once the Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) was established at the Financial Centre in the capital Roseau, ham operators quickly set-up a radio communications centre. With the use of high frequency (HF) radios, the operators were able to relay timely information to the rest of the world on the status of the country, emergency efforts and critical needs.

Following tis unforgettable period, amateur (ham) radio operators were credited for going on air within hours and providing a vital link to the outside world. They were instrumental in getting word out to the humanitarian actors and communities about the crisis on the island and helped to coordinate evacuations and rescues, access to emergency medical services, water and food, and much more.
Newly appointed President Roger Blanchard upon his instatement thanked those who have contributed to the longevity of the club throughout the years and implored to his members to remain committed in advancing amateur radio in Dominica and the Dominica Amateur Radio Club Incorporated in particular.

Supplementary to the induction of the president other members instated to the Board of Directors for the 2019-2020 year were Vice President Clement Pierre-Louis; Secretary Hilkiah Lavinier; Treasurer Gordon Royer; Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Gilbert George; Anniversary chairperson Eric Cognet; Fund raising chairperson Rudolph George; Education chairperson John Christian; Operation & Maintenance chairperson Clement James and Field day chairperson Earl Williams.
The Club continues to educate the general public on Amateur Radio through its education programme and through training new and prospective Hams, some of which include, the former Minister ·or Agriculture – Mr. Lloyd Pascal; Former Commissioner of Police – Mr. Mathias Lestrade; Former Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr. Clement Pierre-Louis; Superintendent of the Public Works Division – Mr. Oliver St. John; Director of the Dominica Red Cross – Mrs. Kathleen Pinard.­ Byrne; former Mayor of the city of Roseau – Mrs. Bernadine Dinnard-Williams; Dominica Association of Disabled People, among others.
Most of the above­ mentioned persons have already received their Amateur Radio licenses.
DARCI holds its general membership meetings on the second Thursday of every month at 5pm at its club site at the Canefield East housing scheme. Members and visitors alike are invited.

Submitted by J73CC John.

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