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.