Executive Director of the Dominica Employers Federation (DEF), Achille Joseph, has called for an inquiry into what he described as the “impotency of the security forces in Dominica” in the days following Hurricane Maria.
He said at a press conference on Thursday that police officers stood by while the private sector was “raped” and is heaping the blame on the police brass.
“We need an inquiry,” he stated.
According to Joseph, the matter was tabled in a meeting between the private sector and Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit “and he did not accept it.”
“The private sector needs an inquiry into why the police did not secure the investments of the people of this country and basically stood by while civilians and others raped the private sector,” he stated. “We need to know what happened and I am not blaming the individual police officers who may not have acted, I am blaming the brass, the leadership of the police force, probably to even go further, probably even to the extent of the head of government in this country.”
Joseph said he stood by on the Friday after Maria and witnessed four tons of refined sugar being looted from Josephine Gabriel and Company.
“I made several calls and attempt to get the police down to Canefield and they refused,” he alleged.
He went on to say he saw police officers looting sugar at the site.
“I actually had to call on a particular police officer who was looting sugar and spoke to him,” Joseph remarked.
He stated there is a direct correlation between security and business confidence.
“Where there is more security, there is greater business confidence,” he noted. “When there is lesser security, there is lesser business confidence. Ladies and gentlemen if you cannot secure business confidence and also domestic homes, our country is going to be in for a very, very rough time.”
At a press conference a few weeks ago, Deputy Police Chief Davidson Valerie, said the police did their best in the circumstances following the storm.
He said at the earliest opportunity after the hurricane, police officers were deployed in the streets of Roseau to ensure security.
“We saw a large number of persons, rather than coming together to maintain order… were engaged in rampant looting in the city,” Valerie stated. “The police had made all necessary efforts. Many of those persons were arrested but yet areas, where the police were unable to reach, were taken advantage of, businesses were taken advantage of.”