Come 2016, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says the government will be taking a more serious approach towards the indiscriminate littering that is rapidly becoming the norm in Dominica.
Skerrit made his point while addressing the contract signing for a second major project under the island’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program on Friday 18th December 2015 at the Ministry of Finance conference room.
He said if legislation needs strengthening, that will be done.
“I think that in the New Year the government has to take a more serious approach towards litter and littering our country. We will be putting more wardens out there. If we have to strengthen legislation, if we have to set aside a night court to bring those of us who will be found in fault with the law to prosecute us, we are going to do those things,” he said.
According to the prime minister, it is something that the government has been talking about.
“If you recall, I said to the country some years ago during the national day of service, that we would put the concrete and the tarish and the steel down for three years and focus on the environment, focus on keeping the country clean, Planting flowers in front of our yard, in our yards, in front of our businesses, along the roads. Some people criticized me for this because people love concrete and cement, but we cannot talk about Nature Island based on rivers and trees that the lord has given to us,” he added. “The question is what are we doing to enhance it? What are we doing to preserve it? What are we doing to conserve it?”
He said he feels passionate about it.
“And there is a growing indifference on the part of the population on the environment. People just increasingly believe that they can dump things where they want indiscriminately and it has to stop and I feel very, very passionate about these things. Because when I pass around the country it really pisses me off to see the way that we are keeping our country and each of us has a responsibility to keep our country clean!”, he lamented.
To further strengthen his point, Skerrit noted that “back in the days” people had small houses but clean yards with beautiful flowers, but now he said, “people just taking their garbage bag and just drop it on the side of the road, there are bins and people are just dumping this thing with no care whatsoever.”
Garbage disposal and management, the prime minister noted, must be taught from the school level.
“We have to have a frontal attack on the state of the country and every person has to play their part,” he said adding that one of the measures that the government will be that concessions given to developers or investors, will include stipulations in the conditions requiring them to beautify their property and keep the boundaries of their property clean. He said visits will be made to the properties to verify that these requirements are being met.
“…And if you are not keeping your property clean, then you will refund to the state the volume or the amount of monies that the government has given you by way of concessions. If we do not take action on this on a frontal manner, we are going to have a problem in the next few years.”
He said visitors to Dominica must view the country “in awe when they come to the nature island of the world.”
He said Dominica must begin to position itself if it is to sustain those investments that are coming in through the CBI and one way that is can be done is keeping the country clean and improving customer service.
The Prime Minister said in the New Year, the issue of banning styrofoam containers and non-biodegradable materials in Dominica will be discussed.