Some Coulibistrie residents should think of relocating – Hector John

Residents at the function on Sunday
Residents at the function on Sunday

Some residents of Coulibistrie have been told that they should think seriously of relocating following the devastation that Tropical Storm Erika had on that area.

Several sections of  the community were severely affected during the passage of the storm in late August.

Speaking at a Coulibistrie Gospel Mission Church activity held on Sunday 18th October 2015, dubbed “Coulibistrie Storming Heaven With Praise”, Parliamentary Representative for that Constituency, Hector John, told residents those areas that they should give serious thought to moving away from the place that they are now calling home.

He said if the country is faced with the same levels of rain experienced during Erika, “there will not be any Coulibistrie anymore.”

“So we in Coulibistrie, the Government, the people in Coulibistrie, the village council, stakeholders, we have to start thinking of Coulibistrie. We have to think hard about relocation, we have to think very hard about moving,” he said.

John pointed out that the community has already suffered the loss of a resident, Austell Joseph, and “we do not want to lose anybody else.

He noted that that many people live in the river bed and “you might like it or not, you have to move. You have to make that hard decision to move.”

The Parliamentary Representative suggested that the community begin seeking a suitable area from the government to relocate.

“That is what we have to do because if you look back, the 28th of September 2011, when we had Tropical Storm Ophelia, what transpired in Mahaut,” he stated. “December 24th 2013, what happened in Roseau south. These weather patterns are becoming more intense and they [are] causing more destruction and we cannot run away from that, we have to think hard and we have to make these decisions.”

Education Minister, Petter Saint Jean, agreed with the proposal

Speaking at the annual principal’s meeting at the Dominica Public Service Union building on Monday, he said while a decision has not been made on the matter, moving that community may have to be considered.

“I’m being advised, and if you heard the news this morning that while we thought that we had to relocate two communities, it would appear that this is now being increased to three communities based on the information that was in the media this morning,” he said. “We may have to look seriously relocating the community of Coulibistrie.”

He added, “Well, of course, a decision has not been taken on that but that is the information that seem to be coming to the fore.”

Coulibistrie was one of several communities declared ‘special disaster area’ by the government following the passage of the storm.

The communities of Dubique and Petite Savanne have been evacuated and the government is now in the process of finding a suitable place for relocating residents.

Coulibistrie was hit hard by Erika. Photo credit: GIS
Coulibistrie was hit hard by Erika. Photo credit: GIS

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21 Comments

  1. Uk
    October 20, 2015

    “Relocate” tell hector to read about the thames river and many places in the world where engineering challenge let people live noramal life. get them engineers in dominica to creat plan be able to make people live normal in these areas. always runing from problem in dominica and boasting we have this and dat.

  2. Anthony P. Ismael
    October 20, 2015

    There are times when we can simply blow “Hot Air” without thinking and inject stupid partisan politics into any debate. This is not one of them. There are human beings living within a flood plain and the level of ignorant comments is simply astounding. These residents need to be relocated. These are human beings that we’re talking about, not political pawns on a chess board. Furthermore, they are our brothers and sisters. Why would someone be against relocating them to safety is beyond me.

  3. Anthony P. Ismael
    October 20, 2015

    Hector, it will take courage to establish a realistic plan and protect members of the community from themselves. You will be met with a high degree of ignorance from those who do not understand that living within a few feet of a “River Bed” is disasterous!! No amount of “River Walls” will stop the river from reclaiming its natural course. Those idiots who are want to remain in a natural flood plain should be left alone.

  4. JOE
    October 20, 2015

    Hector who advised you on that relocation?? Zor bien FOU!!!!!! Where you looking at? Dominica is the NATURE ISLE go figure!!!!!!!

  5. Annon
    October 20, 2015

    No! We cannot go around and relocate whole communities. Too expensive, traumatic, breaks up families, overracting. Build river walls or improving on existing ones. For instance, Roseau is in a river valley, are we going to relocate Roseau because of that. Disasters happen. Have you seen the communities in the Italian or French Alps? They get avalanches, walls are built, defence systems are created, but communities are not relocated or just temporarily till defences are built. It’s just bad practice to relocate permanently.

    Petit Savanne also should be rehabilitated and let the people go back home, too much livelyhood at stake, with high unemployment in the country. They are better off in their home towns. Disasters don’t happen all the time, they are freaks of nature. Please get to your senses, research and get ideas from others facing the same predicament. It’s the thing to do.

    • Uk
      October 20, 2015

      true dat lol tell him to read about the thames and the great engineering challenge.

  6. nigel
    October 19, 2015

    relocate to where? what kind of crap is this? you are asking residents to relocate and you can tell them where or you is fronting the cost. why don’t the focus on re-enforcing the river walls and clear out the river beds so the river can resume its natural course.

  7. Channel 1
    October 19, 2015

    I don’t think the entire community of Coulibistrie needs to be relocated. Persons along certain sections of the river bank may need to be relocated but not the entire community.

    Reinforced well-designed walls ought to be built along the river bank and the river dredged periodically to give it some depth.

  8. UDOHREADYET
    October 19, 2015

    that’s just a very scary place to live… has always been. i remember spending summers there as a child with friends of my family… I had nightmares about those boulders. And even as child I though how could these people be so foolish to live among these giant boulders. Allu should move to Colihuat or Salisbury even Layou.

  9. gweneth joseph
    October 19, 2015

    Well there is a need to hold discussions with villagers concerned ASAP .Ppl have started repairs.

  10. dominica new york
    October 19, 2015

    boss no sence

  11. Jean Coulibistrie
    October 19, 2015

    I do agree that the space on the river banks be made for commercial activities ( Boardwalks, bars, bakery, shops, etc.). This must be accompanied with a series of structured, reinforced – stone River walls.

    I would go further to recommend that the issue of these boulders and Rocks looming over our heads be dealt with immediately. By doing this, we open new lands for Housing. Back- Roads at Plassawill, T- Morne and above the cemetery must be built to connect Coulibistrie with Morne Rachette. Also a back road from the playfield to the main road via GM church.
    Also, stationed- trained personnel in medical, fire and ambulance, search and rescue are needed in the village. Mandatory River Flooding Alert Systems must be operational to give sufficient alert and warning during flooding and heavy rains.
    We have live for ever in Coulibistrie during heavy rains and severe flooding but Sir, we cannot run away. We must learn from this tragedy and build stronger and prepare for future…

    • Channel 1
      October 19, 2015

      Very excellent ideas you have raised. An elevated boardwalk along the river bank where people could sit and relax and a river early warning system should be considered and implemented in earnest during the rebuilding phase.

    • Ti Neg Bistrie
      October 20, 2015

      Well said Jean Coulibistrie! Affoss dem politishans like to look for easy way out, Since de storm, is all kind of coshonwe people hearing. Coulibistrie is a village since Kwayib leave there and we pot going now other place. With de ideas you saying, especially rebuilding a strong river wall, and government maybe building some apartments like they build in bathestate to replace all dem little wooden kie-bwa that de people loose, de place can come back even better than it was.

  12. Zandoli
    October 19, 2015

    Dominicans either live on a hill or in a valley. In just about every valley, there is a river that flows with varying intensity depending on the time of year and the rain pattern.

    Should we then consider moving every resident that lives in a valley? Because sooner or later, it is going to get flooded. It is just a matter of when and to what extent.

    • Zandoli
      October 19, 2015

      Instead of moving people wholesale, would it not make more sense to look at river defence systems to mitigate the damage these rivers cause? Would it not be a cheaper and less disruptive and more practical option?

      • Anthony P. Ismael
        October 20, 2015

        No amount of river wall will proctect them. They need to be relocated. I’m wondering if any of the commentators on this site took a “High School Geography Class.” How many walls have been built along the Layou River just after the bridge? And what happened this time? It was washed away again!!

    • Roger Burnett
      October 19, 2015

      This is a very valid point. Where do we stop? It can be argued that the city of Roseau and the whole of Roseau Valley is susceptible to volcanic eruption.

      In terms of landslides, we need to understand if the clearing these lands of their original tree growth has contributed to the problem.

  13. dominica new york
    October 19, 2015

    boss colihaut hector boss u like to talk to much ask the pm to rebuild the river wall that’s it

    • Francisco Telemaque
      October 19, 2015

      Boy, shut you damn stupid, mouth and try and go to some adult night classes, try to educate you dunce behind. Ask Skerrit for what? If you were not an idiot you would look around and notice what happened in South Carolina weeks ago, yet the water which covered house tops have not yet subside. How tall were the levies in Louisiana which was overwhelm by the flood caused by the hurricane ?

      This very day in the Philippines, there areas been devastated by flood rising waters, washing away Bridges, homes and roads.

      Last week the same happened in Northern California, people have to move when the areas are no longer safe to occupy. I know idiots like you believe Skerrit is a god, and he can fixed everything, but notice his children are not born in Dominica, ask your god Skerrit why?

    • world peace
      October 19, 2015

      dominica new york, didnt u see erika washed away walls too

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