Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has chided persons who are being quarantined and using social media to criticize the facility and how it is being managed.
Some of these people have taken to social media saying that the facility is “filthy and the meals are not coming on time.”
While agreeing that he is aware that things at the facility are not perfect, the prime minister has called for patience.
“Those of you in the quarantine, we are doing it for your own good and that of your families. I understand, like everywhere, there are some challenges and we will fix it. It is not perfect. Work with us; stop the sensation and let’s all stay calm and remain focused,” Skerrit said.
He also took jabs at those who criticized him for not immediately closing down Dominica’s borders.
“We could have shut down the country from February 1 but that would not have helped us. We are putting systems in place identifying human resources. The people who said that Skerrit should have shut down the borders long time know that it is not just like that,” he said.
The prime minister said that there were a number of things to consider shutting Dominica’s border. He said he had consulted with a wide cross-section of people including, medical and international experts.
“It is part of our culture to come back door from the French territories. So allowing the boat to come in was key so if people have the virus they can be spotted,” Skerrit maintained. “Anyone who comes in via the back door you have to tell us because it is in your interest and that of the country. We want to ensure as far as possible that we can contain and manager it…this is not a time for politics. I have seen comments, so those who want to play politics, so be it.”
Skerrit also revealed that Dominica has the national capacity to test for the Coronavirus and have been told by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) CDC that what is being done in Dominica is very efficient and accurate. “So we have the national capacity to test and so our results are able to come to us much faster and as a result, we are able to act quicker,” Skerrit stated.
He praised the health professionals who have come forward to assist along with the firemen and the ambulance service.
He also issued a warning to those 70 years and above to “stay home completely.”
“People with underlying conditions please stay home…we also want people to look out for each other and stop calling the hotline unnecessarily because you are doing a disservice,” he posited.
The Dominica leader also announced that after much consultation the government, he took a decision to close the islands main airport a day earlier than was previously announced.
“I have consulted with the Chief Medical Officer (ag), Dr. Curvin Ferreira and other people. As a result, we have taken a decision to close Douglas-Charles airport effective midnight March 26, 2020. We are also asking those who are vulnerable working in the government service to stay home and work from home,” he said.
He also said that the attorney general is preparing the necessary regulations to be gazetted.
“All that will be regulated from a legal standpoint…we are speaking to the banks and the private sector because while we envisage a shutdown, people can have access to services. If you don’t have business [to do on the] outside, stay inside,” the prime minister stated.
He said the government will be taking a decision on the issues of VAT and Income Tax returns about which the Financial Secretary (FS) will make a detailed announcement.
The prime minister warned that if people refused to adhere to the various instructions given, he may be forced to issue a curfew but said he hopes it doesn’t come to that.
“We are open to criticisms but let us be positive and constructive,” Skerrit stated.