Tonge addresses vagrancy in Roseau, again

Tonge said vagrancy cannot be handle by government alone
Tonge said vagrancy cannot be handle by government alone

The 2015/2016 cruise ship season is now opened and Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge, is again speaking of the longstanding issue of vagrancy in Dominica, especially in the city of Roseau.

He said the matter should not be handled by the government only, however, everyone should play their part.

“All of the supposed vagrants that you see on the streets they all have family; they belong to someone so we ourselves have to help. It cannot be done by the government only, so all of us have to do our part,” he said.

He noted that there are some regulations put in place by the Ministry of Health on the matter but, “I am not sure if it is fully in place…”

He stated that the authorities will be working with the police so that the issue “is actually reduced.”

Tonge also noted that the issues of vagrancy, littering and crime should not be addressed just for tourists but also “for us.”

“You don’t want somebody harassing you for money, you don’t want somebody harassing you for stuff. You don’t want to be walking down the road and see a smelly gutter,” he stressed. “I mean if you take your time nowadays and you walk around Roseau slowly, it is not what it supposed to be.”

He added, “There are certain cultural things that we have. For example we keep our gutters clean, but then kenip season comes along…I mean it is a cultural thing so some of us accept it, but just imagine someone else who knows nothing about it and all of a sudden they see all the kenip skins and all the seeds in the gutter…we have to change.”

In July 2015, Tonge had said that Government has put a plan in place to address the vagrancy issue with a day and night care facility.

He mentioned also that as part of the plan, the Psychology Unit will pick up high risk persons every day and take them to what he described as an “occupational health centre.”

In November 2013, then Tourism Minister, Ian Douglas, admitted that he was unsure how the vagrancy is going to be resolved.

He threw it at the feet of the Ministry of Health, which he said is ultimately responsible for dealing with it.

Earlier this year Health Minister, Kenneth Darroux said the matter would be taken to cabinet for consideration since it is having a negative impact on, “our visitors especially those from the cruise ships.”

Last year Director of Tourism, Colin Piper, described the matter as having a “negative impediment” on the tourism industry.

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  1. True Nuh
    October 10, 2015

    the government need to take them guys off the street … build a rehab lockup. Caning wont work because they will still need to beg to support their drug habit. You just gonna end up with paros with tears in pain begging people . Once they are out in public and they are on drugs they will beg.

  2. D/can
    October 9, 2015

    They have families yes, but who wants to deal with that stress?

  3. crokett & tubbs
    October 9, 2015

    to echo kubuli country,mr tonge this is what happens when important positions are handed to people who are unqualified to perform the task at hand.your background is selling insurance,something you learnt working in your father business.however it is clear that you are way over your head and you have no idea what your responsibilities are or even know how to run a tourism ministry.I think you should resign and give someone else with the experience and qualifications to handle that task.

  4. white
    October 9, 2015

    Wait wait wait,what?? Reread this quote: “There are certain cultural things that we have. For example we keep our gutters clean, but then kenip season comes along…I mean it is a cultural thing so some of us accept” ….I’m sorry but WHAT is the cultural thing? Littering? Cus I think you may be right about that point.

  5. Zuma
    October 8, 2015

    Ministry of health ministry of health.where is the budget.who is controlling the purse strings of the different ministries.. Do something about this and do it quick why is a tourism minister dealing with mental vagrant issues. Pegs in round holes. Are these people in the government donkeys or mules. Half of one a dozen of the orther…

  6. October 8, 2015

    There is a saying in our schools that “A problem child is a child with a problem.”

    This reality carries forward into the community at large. “A problem person is a person with a problem.”

    Vagrants come to our attention at a time when the city is expecting tourists or preparing to host a major event that will bring a more than usual number of visitors. Suddenly they become visible. We don’t care so much that they exist only that people will see them. For whatever reason we are embarrassed.

    The vagrant is a person with a problem, often many problems. Perhaps mental health issues, physical problems, perhaps alcohol or a drug problem, usually an unemployment problem. Family members should be asked to help in any way they can. Governments have some responsibilities towards disadvantaged citizens. The long term need has to be cared for.

    Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist.

  7. REAL!!!!
    October 8, 2015

    Mr. Tongue the heighten Vagrant issue is link to the poor economic environment in DA and the unclean street is as a result of bad management by the stalwarts of the GOVT.

    So the both issue was created by the GOVT so they should fixed it, don’t ask the public to fix it when it requires money to do so and the people are already poor.

    Partner you have lost my confidence.

  8. Shameless
    October 8, 2015

    Garson just solve the damn problem and quit giving “political spin” on this long standing issue. Over 20 years DLP working on that issue and they kicking it around like a damn football. Ian in particular was supposed to solve it nanay karnar ago but still nada. What a waste of time this DLP Cabal :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: . Bunch of bubble-belchers :twisted: Everyone these guys speak I wanna puke.. 8) 8) 8)

    Assertive, NEVER Aggressive! :twisted:

  9. truth
    October 8, 2015

    the impression that I got from the minister speaking on Marpin news, sounded like his solution was arresting the vagrants. THIS CANNOT BE THE SOLUTION AND ISN’T THE SOLUTION. vagrants home is on the street. arresting them is brings about a cost to the country processing them just to send them stockfarm, and then to return on the streets after they serve their sentence. And that trick all of you have in sending them for Dr Benjamin isn’t ideal either. because after their discharge, then what.

    You are the minister, getting paid to think and formulate solution,,,,get to work and fix the problem.

    • Ma Moses
      October 8, 2015

      You are telling us all the things that won’t work but can you please come with a sensible suggestion that may work. That would be more useful.

  10. I, Me, & I Alone
    October 8, 2015

    Boy these days we hearing government ministers talking left right and center. I hearing St. Jean, the widow of piero, Drigo, Tonge, and others except that of Skero. Where is the minister and spokesman for everything? Strangely enough I have not been hearing the voice of Skerrit. Is he in exile? If yes, where to since he might be afraid of putting foot on US soil?

    • Zuma
      October 8, 2015

      Look under Lipton bed

  11. Peter Potter
    October 8, 2015

    Talk, talk, talk… Action, results – none! What are we paying these guys for? Fellow citizens, let’s start asking questions! We can not go on like this anymore.

  12. Francisco Telemaque
    October 8, 2015

    “Tonge said vagrancy cannot be handle by government alone”

    As far as I am concern you are simply been repetitive, talking the same old nonsense over and over. How can you deal or find a solution to a problem, or bad situation when you have no compression of the cause? Government cannot handle what alone? Some people are mentally ill; as a result of that they may not even be aware they are wandering the streets, they are like walking dead in a vegetative state! They do not think of food, nor a place to sleep, they are powerless in making constructive decisions. Shouldn’t the government do something to help these people, how about institutionalization and medically treated.

    On the other hand you have two categories of vagrants, those who wish to work, and cannot find a job. Whose responsibility it is to develop the nation industrially so that ambitious ones can find a job? That is the government responsibility! Finally, There are always going to be people who do not…

  13. Kubuli Kountry
    October 8, 2015

    @ Mr. Robert Tonge:

    Sir I must respectfully tell you that I am disappointed in you. When I heard you were being offered the Ministerial position of Tourism portfolio, I said to myself, ‘there’s a bright, young man who may have a clear vision for Dominica in terms of Tourism”. But it seems I have to eat my words, because you are coming across as just as clueless as Ian Douglas, Irene John, Cecil Joseph et al.

    The vagrancy problem is a hydra-headed monster that must be killed forthwith if we are to increase our Tourism numbers. Many vagrants have a mental health issue and a drug addiction issue and their families have marginalized them. So calling on families to help is a waste of time.

    When you cut it really fine, the whole Ministry of Health is sadly, sadly lacking.

    Whenever you sit at a round-table Sir, ask your colleagues about their vagrancy/paro problems and what steps did they take to resolve it. Is not just eat, drink and be merry at cocktail parties.

  14. OOh La La
    October 8, 2015

    I dont seem to understand. It seems that the only time we TALK about Roseau and its unsightly gutters is during the opening of the tourist season. Yes they are important, but we are equally important. But still its just tooooooo much talk all the time – same talk that we all know and see. When Ian was the Minister for more than five years it was the same talk – so it means nothing is being put in place to address and alleviate the gabbage and vagrant problems in the city. It is quite tiring to hear the same talk from different Ministers for years without end. IT IS SICKENING. Lets find a solution if we have to bring all minds together. ROSEAU NEEDS A PROPER ORGANIZED GABBAGE COLLECTION SYSTEM – when this is instituted, then we have to deal with the litter bugs who think other persons have to pick up after them. IF WE HAVE TO ARREST THEM FOR THROWING A KENNIP SEED LETS DO IT!!!!!!! I AM TIRED OF ALL THIS TALK. TIME TO PUT SYSTEMS IN PLACE AND MAKE ARRESTS!!!

    • JohnDahn
      October 8, 2015

      I think caning is more appropriate, that’s what they do in Singapore, and its clean as hell.

    October 8, 2015

    Pass decency laws and enforce them. Simple as that.

  16. 4-cars
    October 8, 2015

    You looking nice behind the microphone; But that’s all. No damn solution.

  17. 4-cars
    October 8, 2015

    I am yet to read of any proposed plans by the government to address this long standing issue of vagrants in the City/Town. The “police” is the one option the government has in place, or is suggesting to fix the vagrancy. What is the police supposed to do? arrest all paro? I would think that most of these vagrants have some kind of mental disorder – Why not address this mental problem as a starting point? Anyone can hold an administrative position; but very few can really minister to the needs of the citizens. This is a gross disgrace. Now they are calling on the public to do something. When all you getting all your grants and gifts; do you ask for the public assistance in distributing the funds? Man go fix your vagrant problem and live the public out-a-it.

  18. Shaka zulu
    October 8, 2015

    I hate to admit it but based on what I read the minister did not address vagrancy like the heading suggest. Vagrancy is a problem and to address it means the something was done about it or is currently being cleaned up. I did not see that. All I am seeing is the same ole chatter. Talk talk talk. When will we hear what was done and the results so we can say good job.

  19. Domplin
    October 8, 2015

    It is high time. Thanks for acknowledging the problem first of all. I agree, everyone has to play their part. Those calling Government, government are probably the same who throw their kennip seeds on the ground, and something as simple as that has to stop. The Chinese will deal with the stray dogs if any are left. okay, just joking. Now to the issue of how we deal with vagrants, the police can patrol the streets when the cruise ships are here. Take them away, and keep them locked until the cruise ships depart. If they have no home, it is the governments responsibility. If we need more buildings with rooms to house people then do that. Give them a temporary room. Help them to get back on their feet. They can probably choose between grotto home and prison. If because of mental illness they cannot get back on their feet, they need a permanent home for that too. Do something and stop talking. It has to stop.

  20. in the end
    October 8, 2015

    in Barbados you hardly see vagrants in Bridgetown becaus they all at blackrock in the mental hospital.

  21. Dominican in T.O
    October 8, 2015

    All this guy does is talk… Less talk more action.

  22. IMJustSaying
    October 8, 2015

    Every year, every cruise season the same words are always regurgitated.
    Yes, family have to play a part, but what if the family is “broken” and needs help themselves? Why is this never taken in consideration? Instead of shirking your governmental duties, why not revisit your antiquated mental health policies? Why not undertake a holistic assessment of this disenfranchised community? As usual, this incompetent government with the same stuck record.
    By the way DNO, that photo does not look like Mr Tongue.

  23. wisewoman
    October 8, 2015

    Kenip seeds and skins? At least they are biodegradable. What about plastic and styrofoam, bottles and other garbage? I’ve complained to the Roseau City council on several occassions, asking how it is that the mayor and others come to work each day and see the condition of our streets and sidewalks and carryon as if it’s not a problem. The mayor was not in her office on the occassions that I stopped by, but the garbage issue is not rocket science. I suggested that they hire additional crews to clean the city and was told that there are no funds for that. The PM was able to locate $500,000. for the cathedral roof, but cannot figure out where to find the funds for street cleaning???????????? Now, talk to us about rats and mosquitos and the diseases they carry.

    • enough is enough
      October 8, 2015

      yes 500,000 for the Church and 27,000,000.00 ec$ for the state palace too, and 3,500.00 for a shirt………

      • Titiwi
        October 8, 2015

        and…..”give me a dollar” for a vagrant.

  24. From Fond St Jean
    October 8, 2015

    It should not only be considered and taken seriously because it has a negative impact on the tourist industry,, we need to understand that these ppl need help, they are not getting it on the streets, they need to be somewhere where they can get that help,, all of that will alleviate the numbers and problem with the tourist industry as well.

  25. Frank Talker
    October 8, 2015

    Tonge is really the man with a pair of tongues in his mouth. This guy is always saying something. I hope he survives Skerrit’s displeasure with Ministers taking the spotlight away from him.

  26. 1988
    October 8, 2015

    Then do something now. Too much talk!!!

  27. Titiwi
    October 8, 2015

    We have heard that same mantra for many years now mr. Tonge, the govt. trying to say that the vagrants are the responsibility of their families and nothing happens. Yesterday we heard that the Traffic dept. of the police will deal with the problem. Is is because the vagrants are mobile and cause obstruction? Good luck. I will believe it when I see it.

  28. Born Again Christian
    October 8, 2015

    All talk and no action.

    If the government want to address the vagrancy issue they can, but it is politically correct to them to let the situation persist so that they can always have an issue to talk about.

    There been some good suggestions on how best to deal with the issue of vagrancy but the Government is yet to fully implement. Why do you think this is so?

    This is both a social/ societal and religious/ spiritual issue. But no wants want to truly address the can of worms because people will remain people… looking for things to say to make them look good but failing to take corrective measures to deal with the issue

  29. Lovemyculture
    October 8, 2015

    So what is the mayor of Roseau doing about the problem. She was so vocal about the problem when she was running for office. Now the sounds of her silence are quite deafening.

    • negremaron
      October 8, 2015

      What are the satutory responsibilities of the RCC and the Mayor of Roseau?They seem lost and burdened .Everybody is busy giving PLASTIC AWARDS and high- falutin speeches!!
      The RCC should be managed by mature citizens with management experience who are willing to give their time and talents for FREE for three year.I’m not saying this Tongue in Cheek!

  30. Joan
    October 8, 2015

    The Ma yor of Roseau should do her work. As a child in D.A. I remember the gutters and streets of Roseau being swept and cleaned. Is the Mayor there as a token: Do your work Madam,

  31. grell
    October 8, 2015

    Tonge this is just showing the incompetent people we have running Dominica,am tired of the excuses,start fining people for littering,and the vagrancy is something that the health minister should be involved in the matter.

    • Ma Moses
      October 8, 2015

      I don’t hink mr. Tonge is incompetent but impotent, ham strung like all other Ministers who can’t move or speak without the say-so of Mr. Skerrit. That whoe cabinet paralysed like a scaredrabbit caught in a floodlight.

  32. me
    October 8, 2015

    Best of luck with that sir..

    • negremaron
      October 8, 2015

      With what??

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