Police officers in Dominica after Hurricane Maria last year

Minister for National Security, Rayburn Blackmoore has said the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force is filling in the gaps and is prepared for this year’s Hurricane season.

According to him with climate change, the Caribbean almost cannot predict weather events and everyone must be prepared.

“I think we have to not only from a law enforcement standpoint, but every citizen have to properly prepare…that is why I think going forward that we have made a request for, with of course equipment and hopefully if that comes through this will help in the effort to respond by before we respond we have to be prepared,” he stated.

Blackmoore said that increasing the strength of the police force is very important.

He said further that transport [mobility] is critical and police stations are being repaired.

“We are trying to get the police stations covered, repaired,” he stated.

Blackmoore went on to say that communication is also very critical.

“One of the things that actually happened after Maria that there was a total shutdown of communication,” Blackmoore explained. “So we want to ensure that we have our radio systems properly setup…”

He said the police force is working with the fire department and the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) where a number of training exercises are being held in terms of search and rescue to ensure that first responders compliment the effort of the police and others.

“It has to be a partnership also forged with all the relevant agencies,” he said.

Meantime, he revealed that presently there is a new batch of police recruits being trained and very soon more recruits will do the same.

“We have actually started the training programme and the intention is to start immediately thereafter to train another batch of officers and to ensure we have proper coverage,” Blackmoore said.

The police force was heavily criticized following widespread looting in the wake of Hurricane Maria last year.

The Dominica Employers Federation (DEF) has called for an inquiry into what it described as the “impotency of the security forces in Dominica” in the days following Hurricane Maria.

The Dominica Business Forum (DBF) has also called for a public inquiry into the matter.