Vagrancy issue to be taken to cabinet

This man was seen begging passersby in Roseau
This man was seen begging passersby in Roseau

The issue of solving the vexing problem of vagrancy in Roseau will soon be presented to Cabinet for consideration.

This is according to Health Minister, Dr. Kenneth Darroux who spoke at a concert held at the Acute Psychiatric Unit (APU) building of the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) on Sunday.

According to Darroux, it is common knowledge and no secret that the vagrancy situation is having a negative impact on, “our visitors especially those from the cruise ships.”

“The Ministry of Health is prepared to lead the fight in addressing it,” he said. “And a social impact assessment will soon be conducted that would guide the long-term policy and the management of vagrancy in Dominica.”

Darroux noted that addressing vagrancy requires collaborative effort and should not be limited to, “tourism, legal affairs, national security, housing and other social services.”

The issue of vagrants in Roseau has been a long standing issue 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.

Just a few months ago, Director of Tourism, Colin Piper, described the matter as having a “negative impediment” on the tourism industry and said that his department is already having meetings with relevant authorities to further address it.

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36 Comments

  1. playboy
    January 14, 2015

    Do whatever you all want. Just DO NOT violate the people’s rights under the law.

  2. Real Dominican
    January 13, 2015

    These beggers harras all visiters and all Dominicans they come in contact with. I was in Dominica a year ago and was approach many times by the same begger in one day. I was upset with him, I asked him to leave me alone.

    These people should monitered at all time. They are giving Dominica a bad name. Some of them have good families that can take care of them. That same year I was in St. Maarten and( I DID NOT SEE ANY BEGGERS ON THE STREETS.)The
    government of Dominica should contact the government of St. Maarten how to irradicate this problem in our country.

  3. Jaime Lewis
    January 13, 2015

    I commend the Minister of Health for putting his best forward in taking this issue on. I would recommend a task force with various stakeholders representing a range of sectors: health, mental health, social services, legal, housing, police, tourism, church, local government, youth, education. This problem has to be addressed. We cannot allow it to continue. Develop a strategic plan with timelines for implementation. Call in people with expertise to assist if needed. Research funding opportunities – we are desperately in need of funds to arrest this problem.

  4. Tina Alexander
    January 13, 2015

    Lifeline and Wisdom to Know are seeking to set up a men’s dry night shelter as a first step in helping those who need it. We are looking for bedding, chairs and tables and donations of food and toiletries. Our method is befriending and trying to bring hope to the hopeless. Anyone who wants to help at home or abroad can contact Lifeline on 4498593

  5. The Facts
    January 12, 2015

    Do they not receive money from the gov’t? It is time something is done about them. Build a facility out of Roseau for them and keep them fruitfully occupied. If they are allowed out on the streets, they should be monitored.
    Those who are in need of health care as also those who are mental, assist them accordingly.
    Those who are drug users, should be treated and rehabilitated.
    If the police or appointed people catch them begging, they should be first warned. If they are obstinate and refuse to listen and continue to beg, they should be taken away and placed in an appropriate place as a temporary detention center/shelter. I did not state to arrest them. There or in another environment they should be counseled.
    It is high time the government does something about them. Once and for all, spend some money to assist those people. Dominica will be a better and happier place without beggars who roam the streets and harass people for money. I state, help them to recover.

    • Bruce E. Yedlin Jr
      February 1, 2015

      I am from the mainland USA and am also on Government Disability. When I travel (extensively), I choose to be ‘homeless’.. which lets me spend my money to explore (buy things), rather than just take up an accommodation at some expensive hotel. Being Homeless is not the same as VAGRANCY, which entails criminal activity. As we choose to live our lifes the way we want to… No monitoring is necessary by the police (which expends government funds). I do agree on the night shelters (at least for hygiene), but not a minimum security prison (which is what your idea is tantamount. Before cities, people lived on the beaches and mountains and deserts, free to roam.. and that is a human right on this rotating rock.

  6. order
    January 12, 2015

    “social impact assessment will soon be conducted.” A thing that there for so long. Now social impact assessment. Do something. Social impact assessment is not doing something. Fancy words for doing nothing. Chuuuuuuuuupes!!!!!!!

  7. Shadow Play
    January 12, 2015

    I believe that the problem of “vagrancy” in Roseau and elsewhere is systemic of a drug issue and consequently a mental health predicament. Sometime harsh measures have to be taken to eradicate a chronic problem. Persons who exhibit such behaviors should be the responsibility of their families. Mental health practioners should meet with these families on a regular basis for assessment and treatment including medication, and counseling. Those who do not have the resources should be assisted by the Govt. They could be grouped according to the level of their addiction. Some of them should be well enough to be given a uniform and a job to keep the city clean, many can be guides for the visitors, and those who are unable to perform any tasks should be brought to a facility where they could spend the day. At night they could be placed in shelters which could be tents and blankets and cots with restroom facilities. The weather is generally warm so outdoor camping should be comfortable.

  8. The Calabash
    January 12, 2015

    A disappointing problem. I struggle with what is in the value system that leads to that…..Seems at real odds at time.

  9. Mahaut talk roro
    January 12, 2015

    We need job for them

  10. Pedro
    January 12, 2015

    @Malgraysa I am happy the issues are being addressed but the whole point is the issues are not only deeper than the physical nuisances but we should be more focussed on doing it for the Dominican society, not for appeasing foreigners. Today attention is on Vagrants. Tomorrow we will scramble for maybe garbage disposal because of “how it looks” (and not say, health and safety, which are way more relevant).

  11. American Tourist
    January 12, 2015

    In response to Rabbit. I am a middle aged, white, male, US citizen I am the target market for the Dominica Tourism Bureau I agree that there are many black tourists who visit the Nature Isle. My wife for example. My point about race is that white visitors stand out as “foreign tourists” who tend to be targeted for panhandling. I can honestly say that I cannot walk ten paces in Roseau or Portsmouth with out being asked for money. I am a Christian (Adventist) so when someone in need asks- I give. But at times I feel like a walking dollar sign not a welcomed guest.

  12. Just Blaze
    January 12, 2015

    Too much paro all around Roseau. We need a rehab facility in Dominica. Most of these guys are drug abusers. Too much paro all around roseau.

    • Commentry
      January 12, 2015

      Whosss Just Blaze question where you from dear i just looking at your picture and the picture isnt matching the language that is coming from your mouth help me understand dear

      • Frances Canoville
        January 13, 2015

        Pure nonsense and ignorance. So only black Dominicans who can call alcoholics “paro”? Talking in Dominican slang or pawole is a way of life. If you born into the culture, whether you’re black, white, or orange- you will speak like the people- Lennox Honneychurch is a prime example. We need to broaden our minds man. It’s attitudes like that which hold us back.

      • coyote
        January 13, 2015

        “commentry” you are an idiot ,what does it matter where” just blaze” is from.

      • derp
        January 13, 2015

        really so if you white you not Dominican….

      • Titiwi
        January 13, 2015

        That is so true Derp. One time a brother argued with me that if you are not black you can not be a Dominican. I told him in that case we should all go back to Africa and leave Dominica for the real Dominicans, the Kalinago. I refuse to believe that we are different from the rest of the human race because that would make me unequal by my own definition.

  13. Rabbit
    January 12, 2015

    @ American tourist. You are nothing but a Dominican living in foreign,talking about” yes I am white” no one cares if you are white black people come as tourist too. The question to you is on which farm in D/ca can anyone work for 60ec a day? Stop the nonesense.

  14. Peter Potter
    January 12, 2015

    We heard it all before. In fact we heard it from Ian Douglas only in spring last year. What happened…absolutely nothing. It’s more of the same from this government, plenty of talk but never any action.

  15. American Tourist
    January 12, 2015

    I am a frequent traveler to Dominica. (Yes, I am white.) I have both witnessed and experienced first hand the problem that has been called the “vagrancy” issue. A “vagrant” is defined as “one who wanders from place to place without a regular job, supporting oneself by begging, etc.” So who are the “panhandlers”? Are they mentally or physically disabled, chronically homeless folks in need of a better social safety net? Or are they “vagrants” who have learned that it is easier and more profitable to ask 50 tourists for $5ec, than to labor on a farm for $60ec per day. It is clear to me that there are a substantial number of panhandlers who are part of the first group in need of government or charitable services – they cannot help themselves. But are these unfortunate souls the majority of the people who have created the “vagrancy issue”? Perhaps not. Until this question is answered, there can be no coherent and compassionate program to deal with this very real…

    • The Facts
      January 12, 2015

      Panhandler is a new word coined in this era especially in the US and Canada. You know, making it sound sophisticated (as some other words) to mention rather than beggar – begging. :lol:
      Beggars and panhandlers are one and the same. They are all begging on the streets.
      Yes! They are a nuisance specifically to the tourists and other visitors. Who wants to visit a country and be harassed by beggars/panhandlers? They will view their visit as a bad experience which could cause the country to lose its good reputation and receive a bad rating. This will result in a decrease of visitors.

      • The Facts
        January 13, 2015

        When begging some beggars use an empty can, a cup or a small box which they place in front of those whom they beg from. If they receive a lot of coins, the palm of their hands cannot hold them. It may be another reason why they are called panhandlers.
        I do not know about D/cans who beg. At the end of the day, month and year, some beggars in Canada are better off than those whom they beg from and they do not pay tax on what they get.
        The stories about beggars/panhandlers in these parts of the world as Canada are many. Few people now give to them. Furthermore, if they have an address, they receive a monthly social assistance cheque from the government once they apply for it. Someone told me that some of them use the address of the Salvation Army or another non-profit organization.
        They can also go to the Salvation Army and a few non-profit organizations for a meal; no doubt breakfast, lunch and dinner. This money is subsidized by the government and through fundraising.

  16. philme
    January 12, 2015

    this is a problem all over the world

    • PS
      January 12, 2015

      Maybe so Philbe, but that does not make the problem any less. Besides this is OUR problem.

    • coyote
      January 13, 2015

      “philme” because it’s a problem all over the world according to you, does that mean we should just accept it in Dominica?SMFH.

  17. Truth and Justice
    January 12, 2015

    The poor and dispossess, and mentally ill, should not be called vagrants, they are citizens of Dominica with the same rights as anyone else, if the government provided for their needs, they would not have to be begging on the streets, so rather than thinking of hiding them away to please tourist, let the minister of health produce constructive recommendations to deal with our long term ill and poor. Better health and social care facilities,. Are the tourist more important than the citizens of the country. Why do we now have beggars in Dominica this is the question, .

    • The Facts
      January 12, 2015

      If they are mentally ill, then they should be in a facility for the mentally ill and should not be out on the streets. They could pose a menace to society.

    • out of south city
      January 12, 2015

      Well my brother, it seems like money is more important than lives, and that means the lives of the less fortunate. I totally agree with you. Putting the less fortunate away is not going to solve their problems unless their physical, mental and emotional needs are met. Like you stated, “they are citizens of Dominica with the same rights as anyone else.” There must be programmes put in place to assist them. They need counseling and therapy. They need to have a sense of belonging and they need to be loved and appreciated as human beings.

      ONE LOVE

    • Malgraysa
      January 13, 2015

      Vagrant = “a person without a home or job” (Oxford English Dictonary). Yes, they are poor and dispossessed and possibly mentally ill but they are also vagrants, no euphemism can change that. The fact that they are citizens of Dominica makes it even more urgent for the authorities to put a programme in place to help them, we can not just leave it to individual acts of charity. It is obscene to see a glorious palace, immaculately lit up in a blaze of light every night with our own Dominican vagrants in a dcrepit state, begging for a dollar or a scrap to eat just down the road. What message does this send to us, never mind a foreign tourist?

  18. ATKINSON
    January 12, 2015

    So ok, now after the the elections, these pro labour suporters are now vagrangs :mrgreen: Hey what happen to the N E P, the labour party government should sign them up to clean up roseau :-D

    • Me
      January 12, 2015

      @Atkinson, they all voted for workers though because Prevost paid them each to do so.
      He should give them a spot to rest their head at the PrevoCinemall, after all.

  19. Ma Moses
    January 12, 2015

    We already have the famous government “Yes we care” programme. Why can’t this issue be part of the same programme if we really care. No need to set up another organisation again an reinvent the wheel. You don’t need a cabinet meeting for that.

  20. grell
    January 12, 2015

    Old issue for years,Ian left all the empty promises for 5 years now you have the mantle,another 5 years of empty promises again.Roseau is in a dissaray just look @ the sidewalks.

  21. Pedro
    January 12, 2015

    Vagrants are not stray dogs to be herded somewhere. The underlying issue is complicated but clearly a by-product of the social ills and failings of society as a whole. It is lamentable that the driver for this issue seems to be tourism. It is far deeper than that and speaks to social responsibility, welfare, education among other things. If Cabinet wants to consider it a national crisis they should also equally consider the effects of drugs, alcoholism, loss of productivity, under-education, youth unemployment and obesity. These are bigger social ills and have even a more dangerous and literally more costly and even deadly consequences.

    • Malgraysa
      January 12, 2015

      Pedro, I don’t really care if tourism is the driver for resolving this problem If it does the job. We can not have that sore of human misery continue to fester in full public view and hope to build a thriving tourism industry. Of course, I would have an issue if the measures to be employed are less than humane. Nor can we accept mere window dressing to cover up this miserable failing by the authorities but let tourism be a catalyst for an effective and caring approach by all means.

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