Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has sought to address would-be critics who have blasted his decision to ask Dominicans to stay home on Wednesday as Tropical Storm Isaac threatened the island.
Speaking on independently owned Q95 on Wednesday morning the Prime Minister said the decision, which called for a shut down of the country, except for essential services, was taken after careful consideration.
He said a meeting was held late Tuesday night with disaster and weather officials and the decision was made after consulting with them. “There was a strong view among the advisers that as a precautionary measure we ask residents to stay home because we do not want to have a situation whereby you bring them all the way into town … from the countryside and we have difficulties as we have had in the past…where people were stranded for long hours,” he said.
According to Skerrit heavy rainfall is taking an increasing toll on Dominica due to many factors. “Ten years ago it would rain heavily and the water would run into the sea,” he stated. “Today this is not the case in large measure due to climate change and also because of the practices of human beings: building in rivers, building in ravines, building on slopes and dumping of dry goods in the ravines and rivers.”
He also said that the authorities took into consideration that Dominica has been lashed continuously by rains in recent weeks. “Mindful of the fact over the past three week we have had heavy rainfalls, we know the topography of Dominica, we know its history of mudslides, landslides and erosions in the recent times in the country,” he argued. “And also we have flash flooding in an increasing numbers of communities.”
And so the Prime Minister said the decision was taken to allow people to stay home so that they could prepare for the storm. “The decision was taken after careful consideration,” he reiterated.