The government is getting closer to solving the vexing issue of vagrancy in Roseau, Health Minister Kenneth Darroux, has said.
He stated that the matter has been handed to the Ministry of Health and a cabinet paper has been finalized.
“This issue of the vagrancy has been going back and forth for the longest while and finally it was handed to the capable Ministry of Health,” he said on Wednesday.
Darroux pointed out that the accommodations for vagrants will be handled by the non-profit organization, Wisdom To Know (WTK).
While not giving away too much of the information, he remarked that there is a “small cost attached.”
He noted that this undertaking was done through multiple stakeholders including the Ministry of Tourism and the Psychiatric Department.
“Cabinet has essentially approved the paper in principle but of course we need to see it in black and white and by next week hopefully it will be approved,” Darroux stated.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Environment Helen Royer said that families of some vagrants have been identified and will be assisting in addressing the problem.
“Even if we put a day care or a night accommodation for vagrancy, the vagrants come from families they come from homes,” she noted, stating that authorities will meet with families and begin engaging them to discuss effective ways of bringing back or rehabilitating the vagrants into their families.
“Some of them can go back to their homes,” she said.
Royer mentioned that authorities will also be talking to the public and having media forums so people can share their ideas on the matter.
The issue of vagrants in Roseau has been a long standing one in Dominica.
They are said to be a nuisance to tourists who come to Dominica and a reason given for the island receiving low ratings by visitors, according to reports.
In November 2013, then Tourism Minister, Ian Douglas, admitted that he was unsure how the matter 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 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.