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.