Roseau vagrancy problem unresolved

This man was seen begging passersby for money in Roseau on Friday morning
This man was seen begging passersby for money in Roseau on Friday morning

The issue of solving the vexing problem of vagrancy in Roseau appears to be going nowhere with minister of tourism, Ian Douglas, admitting that he is unsure how it is going to be resolved.

He is throwing the matter at the feet of the Ministry of Health, which he said is ultimately responsible.

“Tourism (Ministry) wants a proper Roseau but the vagrants really is a problem of the Mental Health (Department), so the Ministry of Health is taking the lead on what we actually do with the vagrants and the Ministry of Tourism will help with that respect,” he told DNO.

But he said plans by the Ministry of Health has not been finalized as to where exactly the vagrants will be housed.

In October the Grotto Home and Wisdom to Know, ran by Bonti Liverpool, offered to house some of the vagrants in efforts to alleviate the problem during the tourist season.

Back then Liverpool had stated that the arrangement was only in ‘proposal mode’ and a document on the matter had been submitted to cabinet for final approval.

When questioned Douglas said funding for the proposal is a major stumbling block.

“The plan submitted by the proprietor was at a cost associated with participating in the program with getting the vagrants out of Roseau,” he said. “And so I believe the funding has to be found in order to work with him in getting the vagrants out of Roseau. That may have been the hurdle as far as executing the program that he suggested…”

The Tourism Minister did point out that the issue is on the top of his priority list.

Attempts at reaching the Ministry of Health were unsuccessful.

The tourist season officially opens on October 24th with 201 cruise ship calls expected to the island.

Vagrants, as a nuisance to tourists who come to Dominica, have been given as a reason for the island receiving low ratings by visitors, according to reports.

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52 Comments

  1. Malgraysa
    November 18, 2013

    Mr. Douglas, visitors are not really interested who is to blame. They come here for an enjoyable time, which your own Ministry promotes.Just help to solve the problem without pointing a finger. All that does is keep your precious tourists away.

  2. Anonymous
    November 16, 2013

    I live in Dominica and am white and whenever I go into Roseau to shop, the vagrants are also asking me for money. It will never stop for us White people!

    • truthful
      November 16, 2013

      isn’t it better for them to ask you for money than steal from you.wherever u are from hhhave more vagrants than in Dominica.Have a heart

    • Malgraysa
      November 18, 2013

      Is so we don’t like to hear that but I notice that myself, especially when a cruise ship is in town. We should try and improve that poor image and not condemn people for speaking out.

  3. Justice and Truth
    November 16, 2013

    These people are in need of help to keep them off the streets. Either renovate an appropriate building or build a new one out of town with a high wall that they cannot scale.
    Keep them occupied. Attend to those who are in need of rehabilitation and medical care. Also importantly, try to contact their relatives who might be able to assist them and keep them home especially during the day. The government could provide them with some sort of financial assistance.
    Human beings cannot always handle a situation on their own. If all else fails, pray to God for guidance and a solution to this which is what they should have done in the first place, praying to God.

  4. BEN HAYNES
    November 15, 2013

    When a government loses its ability to find a way to deal with a problem, that government should give up and allow a better government to rule. Mental problems are nothing new to any society, and if we as a civilized society wants to believe it is, then we should give up and call someone else to provide leadership. Tourism is only a matter of time here in D/ca. The ships will come and go, but Natives will continue to live and see D/ca the way it was last week, or for that matter years gone by. What we can do for people that lost their way should be a concern to all, not just visitors passing through D/ca for a few minutes. After all, they left their untouchables, less unfortunates behind. D/ca has addicts, people with mental health problems, name it. Tourists understand that. But how we treat our people defines who runs the country. We take people off the streets, refuse them treatment, and lock them up is not the answer. Tourists know we like other countries have them. But the way we prepare our citizens for disasters, the way we treat them like finding solutions for major problems can make a big difference. Roseau is another city in the Caribbean. A clinic focusing on treating the mentally ill, the drug abuser is not that difficult for the visitor to comprehend. A government that wants to ignore its sick, especially the mentally ill should not get another chance of leadership. After all, the poor, the less fortunate, the mentally ill will always be with us. The tourists expect to see, know that every country has it failures, and strengths. We can fix this problem by looking at the solution with citizens as the most important factor here.

    • Grand Bay Girl
      November 17, 2013

      I am sure while mental illness /vagrancy is a problem in Dominica. Yes, it is despicable to see human beings look like that as a human being I say it is somebody’s child.But it is not UNIQUE
      in Dominica. How do u suggest deal with it? Myself in all honesty really wonder how can the Gov’t deal with it

    • Justice and Truth
      November 17, 2013

      You are blaming the government, not taking care of its mentally sick. I visualize how difficult it will be to keep those people indoors. The slightest chance they get, they will run away.
      I reside in a country that I could state the same thing, blame the government of this country for not taking care of its mentally ill. Some of them are walking around the streets. It is easy to detect them.
      We have many problems here and with the sick not receiving adequate medical care; the terminally ill being placed in nursing homes, in the same room with mentally ill people, some of whom murdered their roommates. It is pathetic.
      They are allowed to roam the streets. Unless they attack someone, only then will the authorities do something and take them into custody. They are given medication and this is as far as their treatment goes because they are poor. Then, they are out on the streets again to walk around. People have to be careful that they do not encounter any problem with them. It is nothing new in other parts of the world.
      Granted, the Dominican government must find a way to assist those people. Will those same people want to be helped? What occurred to them in the first place to cause them to be mentally ill and also on drugs and roaming the streets, some begging for money?
      I have realized that some critics do not think and do not question the root of the matter. They only blame the government.
      I do not see why the DA government should resign for that. What happened to the family of those vagrants? Where are they? How well were those people nurtured and treated by their very own relatives?
      Let us get to the root of the matter instead of stating that the government should resign. It is unfair to the PM.
      Offer suggestions which could assist them; not criticisms which will get us nowhere. Solutions are needed not criticisms.

      • Ben Haynes PSY.D
        November 18, 2013

        Well Peace & Justice (although it bothers me to call you that,) when Government does, say something stupid, they should be criticized. Criticism is perhaps the best tool a society has to see changes made, and if you paid attention you would have noticed, all democratic societies uphold this equation. If the PM finds the kitchen is too hot, then the PM should get out. Yes, l agree, families should take care of their loved ones, but you know, we have a government that is taxing the hell out of people and the duty of that government is to assist society, and use tax payers money responsible. If they do not know how to fix such a problem as taking care of the less fortunate, then it is time for them to leave office. On the other hand, civil and police intervention such as protecting citizens on every street must be viewed by government. Police have a job to do, and if they neglect that duty they should be held accountable. Now, who should we blame when society goes astray? Should we criticize society? Believe me Madam Justice, we will get nothing done because it is not society’s job.

      • Malgraysa
        November 18, 2013

        When things are good the Govt. wants to take all the credit for it but for bad things they look to blame someone else or say “we can not do it alone, is everybody’s problem”. We elect a government to put measures in place to deal with problems like these. Why else bother and pay them a big salary

  5. say it loud
    November 15, 2013

    Where is the mayor of Roseau,what’s his part in keeping his city clean. Tell me that’s not his job. What is he getting paid to do. It’s the government’s job.

    • rats
      November 16, 2013

      To add to that; Where is the minister Honorable Blackmore. As aformer officer who patroled the streets of Roseau, why isn’t he showing some leadership in this area.

  6. patriot
    November 15, 2013

    Funding the major stumbling block? For an industry that ranks significantly in our economy? Is the Liverpool proposal a multi-million venture? For years Bonti Liverpool has been doing what Government should have been doing…rehabilitating hard core drug addicts..and he does it FOR FREE. He does not get a salary and he does not charge his “clients.” Government should therefore take this man’s proposal seriously. He has demonstrated his capabilities and his commitment. And by the way why was Liverpool not honoured with a high medal on national day? The First Caribbean Bank did it on a regional level, why not Dominica?

  7. Aye
    November 15, 2013

    Vagrancy is the biproduct of poverty. Create jobs, a stable economy and the number if vagrants will decrease significantly.

    • Justice and Truth
      November 17, 2013

      How many recognize God? How many rejected him? How many do not worship him? How many do not pray for themselves and do not know how to pray? This is the primary cause of their problems.
      As Our Lord said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”
      God cannot help them if they do not help themselves. If they are so far gone, who can help them? Yet, those in authority should try to assist them, beginning with their very own family. Need I state more?

  8. Not a herd follower
    November 15, 2013

    This government is clueless on solving the problems Dominica faces. The only thing they know is to use public funds for their political advantage. Alas, Ian. You at a total loss when it comes to solving problems and proviidng visionary and managerial leadership.

    • Justice and Truth
      November 17, 2013

      I certainly wished people as you would offer some useful suggestions rather than criticisms. You should have an idea how to solve this problem rather than criticism which is all some of you have to offer. You cannot leave all to the government to solve. You are a national and should do your part, fruitfully.

      • Ben Haynes PSY.D
        November 18, 2013

        Perhaps your idea of the government not having a role to play is acceptable by you and your type. It may suprise you but government was elected to take charge. They must realize that dealing with the mentally ill is a priority that must be without reservations. Some people are born with mental illness, some are causes by nature, sadly, some are caused by peoples own fault. But we as human beings, as citizens must not ignore this problem that tarnish communities. Now Peace and Justice, l will criticize government or any organization for stupid policies, like hiding the mentally ill, addicts, or less fortunate of society because some dollars can be made from tourism. It is the duty of government to treat, to act in accordance of the principals of making a better society. All D/cans must be treated with respect and dignity regardless of their state. Government’s duty is to find a way to treat, to deal with all citizens regardless. If they cannot do it, then they should give leadership to those that can find a way to make life better for all. That is the role of government Justice (or whatever) of the Peace.

  9. faceup
    November 15, 2013

    You guys in government say lack of funding. No money for housing the vagrants OK? well, because state house built, for you guys to play in with all you pocket full: MAN I TIERD WITH DAT, LABOUR MUST GO !

    • Grand Bay Girl
      November 17, 2013

      So since the State House built all the money finish nah? Wondering and curious

  10. IluvmyPm
    November 15, 2013

    Skerrit save us!

    • Heavy
      November 17, 2013

      Did you ever stop and pray to God and ask for your needs there are other country worse than DA one of these days i am not praying for that maybe you will ask God to save you for real don’t cry wolf for that day you won’t be able to cry for nothing

  11. Anonymous
    November 15, 2013

    they can try hard that problem will not be control they way want to cause they are all TALKS

  12. Anonymous
    November 15, 2013

    No one is ,as of yet, serious about this problem.It has existed for much too long. It is up for discussion at the beginning of every Cruise season then goes to rest. It will be repeated next year, on and on. What a waste!!

  13. Tyre hit de road
    November 15, 2013

    This happens everywhere and is a simple problem to solve Just put more security and police officers out on the street. There are people too (vagrants) who are just begging not causing any problems for any one and there are those that may be disrespectful, in appropriate and deviant. The city of Roseau is not NYC. the authorities should be able to separate the groups and offer them some kind of treatment according to what groups the fall in. That’s Just Commonsense not Rocket Science. Come on Dominica Government do something. :wink:

  14. artfield
    November 15, 2013

    its a false impression to try and create a perfect Roseau, its hypocricy.

    • Malgraysa
      November 15, 2013

      So, should that stop us from trying? Some people are just defeatists.

  15. artfield
    November 15, 2013

    Leave the people alone, there is vagrancy all over the world.

    • coyote
      November 15, 2013

      that is a very ignorant statement.

      • Anonymous
        November 15, 2013

        No its not , its the truth , the difference is that the rest of the world does not blame vagrants for the lack of tourists coming to there respective cities. They realise there are others issues at play .

      • Justice and Truth
        November 16, 2013

        Dominica is a small country. Roseau for that matter is small which makes the vagrants conspicuous. If only they would not bother the tourists or anyone for that matter. This is the problem.

  16. yes i tell u
    November 15, 2013

    ministry of health… if da could talk

    • Justice and Truth
      November 16, 2013

      You can talk. There are many people in Dominica who could talk and offer suggestions, hopefully feasible ones.

  17. WA HA
    November 15, 2013

    Dominica needs a rehabilitation center or unit for drug abuse.. this is the first thing that the government should have looked into.. too many ple hooked and have no professional help to get off.. hmm then again this government have totally lost their way through greed, incompetence hence impoverishing the masses whereby more social and even moral issues now plague us everyday.. wow DOMINICA you need help babes you are a battered woman.

    • no politics
      November 15, 2013

      Well stated…the “vagrants”need help, focus on that!

  18. Dominican for sure
    November 15, 2013

    See must of these Vagrants have substance abuse problems, therefore, I would recommend a facility where these guys could be rehabilitated. The old St. Andrew’s High School in the north would have been an idle area where these guys could have been housed. All that was needed is transformation of the building, fencing and personal security. I am pretty sure international funding could have been sourced for such programs. We have to take Care of these people and this is just one suggestion.

  19. WA HA
    November 15, 2013

    here is a solution.. the monies use to buy votes and campaign from the treasury should be allocated to solve this problem… there is none so blind as he who refuses to see..

  20. Proud
    November 15, 2013

    One suggestion would be to try a daily soup kitchen at the Grotto Home for the homeless where the homeless non residents of the facility could get at least two daily hot meals and have access to showers.

  21. Shepherd
    November 15, 2013

    Alas stop blaming government for everything. We need to be each other’s keepers. Let us start with the family of the vagrants. Who are they? cant they take care of their families to.

    Governments come and go but our family belongs to us. Let us bring back LOVE

    • artfield
      November 15, 2013

      Have you done anything to help?

      • Shepherd
        November 15, 2013

        @ artfield:

        I give them sheets and blankets etc. what have u done a……………….hole

    • Views Expressed
      November 15, 2013

      The government must take the lead in doing so…they have no clue…no mater what you say to them…they are blind to the issue let alone know how to humanely address it.
      I am telling you that this government is clueless, didn`t you hear the legal/tourism minister.

  22. Views Expressed
    November 15, 2013

    This government has no clue how to address social issues in Dominica…..they treat vagrants like non Dominicans and with total disrespect. All this government know about is to dish out money to poor and vulnerable people. This vagrancy issue will go on for some time long after the last cruise ship has left our shores in May 2014.
    Vagrancy is not a solely mental health and I doubt very much they will be accepted at the psychiatric Unit…that is not the answer.

  23. November 15, 2013

    what is he saying? it at top of his priority list but it is the job of the Ministry of health, it on top of his priority list but he cannot find funding? If it don’t have funding for top priority matters much less for those at the bottom.

  24. November 15, 2013

    The best thing for the minister to do is step down from the job, for years he and his GOVT ignorded the people of D’ica they refused to listen to them now they are on their way out and power is slipping from their hands they are trying to engage the peole well I dont believe him it’s just another way to play on the sympathy of the people, they are all running like a bounch of wild d–gs, enough is enough because ROSEAU should have been looked after long time ago.

    • Justice and Truth
      November 16, 2013

      It is a serious matter to try to get the vagrants out of Roseau. If you have a suggestion, inform the minister about it. I am certain he will welcome it and appreciate it.

  25. DaFlower1
    November 15, 2013

    Why is tourism throwing the problem at health without offering a solution. This problem will not be solved if everyone backs away, while on one is working on a solution. This problem affects all of Dominica. Everybody needs to work together to find common grounds towards a solution

    • Proud
      November 15, 2013

      I totally agree. This is not the time to be shifting responsibility. This is a community responsibility. Everyone needs to be engaged in the process of finding a solution.

      • FORIDA
        November 15, 2013

        This a concern for the Ministry of Tourism, Health Minister, the churches and the family members. This situation affects all of us. Especially, the tourism sector and the island citizens.

        They need to be evaluated for re:mental/health care.
        Some are drug users we need a Reh./drug detoxication center on the island.

  26. Tapir
    November 15, 2013

    Push Ups Wii…In disguise blending in

  27. rowrow
    November 15, 2013

    yah andy, aka pushups is one of the most unrelenting persistent beggers on the streets of roseau.

    • truthful
      November 16, 2013

      we need to be more considerate for these people.our children might be in the same position tomorrow.

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