United Workers Party (UWP) Senator, Isaac Baptiste, has said Tropical Storm Erika severely devastated the island on August 27 because it was a natural disaster, but the “incompetence” of the Dominica Labour Party government has accelerated the problems the country currently faces.
Baptiste made that statement while addressing a Diaspora meeting held at the Prevost Cinemall in Roseau on Thursday.
According to him, unless the government changes its ways the country will continue to be faced with problems.
“The problems we are facing here, yes the natural disaster caused it, but to a great extent the incompetence of this government created the problem also largely…,” he said. “What we need is competent people running the administration and running the government of the day.”
He said land use planning issues, infrastructure and housing issues had to be addressed before the storm “and to show that the problems we are facing here did not arise as a result of Tropical Storm Erika it was existing and many of the problems were raised as a result of poor planning, bad decision making, incompetence of this present administration.”
He accused the government of not being serious when it comes to the proper management of the environment.
“Therefore even before Erika, two consecutive years we had natural disasters, we had the trough situation that affected badly the Mahaut area, we had another situation that affected the southern area… and now we have Erika,” Baptiste stated.
He noted further that when examined in terms of proper management of the environment, “the government is missing in action.”
“When you look at the damage to our bridges, our roads and so forth and you put into perspective the weakness and incompetence of the government in terms of administering the land use process you ask yourself, are they really ready? Do they have the ability to manage and supervise the reconstruction programme to the tune of $800-million which is what is estimated and will be required to reinstate our roads, bridges and so forth?” he queried.
Meantime, UWP Leader Lennox Linton said the state of the nation is one of crisis.
“Crisis because all of the key indicators of performance, whether you are talking about our social services in terms of healthcare and education, the indicators are pointing the wrong direction…” he remarked. “When we talk about the state of the nation in October 2015 we speak regrettably about a nation that is lacking the leadership potential that it deserves.”
Linton noted that has been going on for quite some time.
“Regrettably the people of Dominica seem powerless or incapable of doing anything about it,” he said.