“We need to have more pride” – Tourism Minister

 Tonge said tourism is everybody's business
Tonge said tourism is everybody’s business

Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge, believes Dominicans need to have more pride in the island adding that what is being done for tourists must first be done “for ourselves.”

He made those remarks as a special guest during the Talking Point Program aired on state-owned DBS Radio on Monday.

“From what you’ve seen around, we need to have more pride,” he stated. “Very importantly a lot of the things we say we should be doing for the tourists, we really shouldn’t be doing it for the tourists, we should be doing it for us, we should be doing it for ourselves and we should be doing it for our families.”

According to Tonge, Roseau should not cleaned because tourists are coming or vagrants be dealt with because there are visitors coming to the island’s shores.

“Most importantly we need to have pride,” he insisted. “And we also need to begin to do all of these things for us because tourism is everybody’s business and tourism filters down to all different sectors of the country.”

According to him it cannot be done singlehandedly.

“W must all come together to make it happen and once we can believe that we can make it happen so many things can definitely happen,” he said.

Tonge stated that engagement and partnership with the various stakeholders in the tourism industry are very important.

“The taxi operators, the tour operators, the tour guides, the hotel operators, the restaurant operators, the vendors, the hair braiders…all of these stakeholders must come together,” he stated. “It is a lot bigger than a simple fix, but I think we need to start with having respect for ourselves, by having pride in ourselves, wanting to do things for ourselves and to better and raise the standards of what we are accustom of doing.”

“For example, seeing garbage in an exposed gutter isn’t really acceptable at this stage in our development, so the idea is to improve on these things,” Tonge said.

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59 Comments

  1. February 25, 2015

    Why is there a problem with Blacks and garbage world wide in every neibourhood and every country. There is a problem. Is it learned behavior, poverty, culture.

  2. LIVING OUTSIDE
    February 25, 2015

    Robby, am not political but within your government find out for us what happened to the money given to Dominica to redo the streets sidewalks etc in Roseau by the government of Kuwait , how about the river enhancement project what is going on? last week of election we heard blackmore said that he has approval in his hands regarding a cruise ship terminal at canefield,, yet 2 days after carnival bardouille said in news paper about the expansion of Roseau cruise ship birth, then a few days after you Mr tongue speaks about a 3 floor building in area of ruins .what really is going on?.. I want to invest in my country but there are so many UNCLEAR matters I don’t know what to believe… help me………

  3. Tjebe fort
    February 25, 2015

    Get a leader who knows how to motivate people, how to empower them instead of talking them down and making them feel small. We should clean our own yard first before trying to make a show outside our place.

  4. jim
    February 24, 2015

    Mr tonge, can i get employment in your ministry as an officer responsible for “RUBBISH”

    • Emile Zapatos
      February 25, 2015

      @.Jim……….. That is a great idea, and I hope it gets to the proper authorities. But you could start by organizing a group or groups to do “volunteer” work to showcase your ability in the cleaning of the city.

  5. The Facts
    February 24, 2015

    Last year, an article and picture of where some people throw their garbage was posted on DNO. It was also stated how some people keep the streets dirty as also the sidewalks and drainage.
    Self pride comes before country/national pride. Yes! Everyone is in it and everyone is responsible to a certain extent. There are some who care and others who do not care. Some are more prone to lack of pride than others just as keeping their nation cleaned especially Roseau where there is more of a concentration of people.
    It is a big undertaking to clean and keep the drainage clean. It should not be smelly. For one, it is unhealthy to smell such fumes.
    There is a certain type of people who litter those areas. These need to be educated and spoken to with appropriate advice.
    I recognize a lot has to be done and they cannot be done overnight or in a month. Let us hope something is done and quickly about the streets, sidewalks and drainage of Roseau.

  6. Emile Zapatos
    February 24, 2015

    I only have Two question. Who is trashing the town and the country? Where is the trash coming from!?
    If we can answer,if we can find them and stop them , the problem is almost solved
    Do you trash your yard or your house , so why trash your country

  7. Peter Potter
    February 24, 2015

    Pride is something Dominicans don’t have anymore (they used to). 15 years of Labour and Red Clinic has made beggars of a lot of citizens…and as we all know, beggars don’t have pride or at least can’t afford to have pride! So, talking about pride from a Labour minister is like rubbing salt into open wounds. Hypocrates, that’s what you all are.

  8. brother OJ
    February 24, 2015

    Robbie, you sat at parliament as the new Minister Of Tourism and never said a word about the madness your government doing at the Cabrits National Park.

    Where is the pride for country?
    1. the late Mike Douglas presented the bill in parliament in 1975 to make Cabrits a national park. In 2015, his son Ian gang up with Skerrit to destroy it.
    2. Cabrits cruise ship birth is in a deplorable condition
    3. The Morroccan hotel is incomplete after 3 years and is sinking because of the Wet Lands
    4. There is a Segment of the Waitikubuli Trail
    5. May 2012, there was the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a US sponsored Coast Guard Base
    6. Natural habitat for several wild animals, birds and plant spieces
    7. Turtle breeding area
    8. Resting site for migrating birds
    9. Protected for the proper use of the present and future generation.

    Robbie, show the pride, stop speaking pride

  9. Diplomat
    February 24, 2015

    The emphasis placed on customer service should not only be directed at visitors but locals. If we can start offering our own people quality customer service all across the board won’t we be better off? I recently walked passed Ruins the other day and there were several taxi operators arguing over customers, trying to get a sale… There needs to be a better system put in place instead of haggling the visitors. Its awful! Businesses who are service orientated should offer their staff customer service training classes. I can name a few businesses that have staff who don’t get the concept of what true customer service is. Its shameful really!

  10. B Lion
    February 24, 2015

    If the tourism industry is making money from these tourist arrives, why not use some of the money earned on a macro towards a cleaning and maintenance program to accommodate what Mr. tongue is doing. Our locals don’t get any benefit from cleaning other peoples mess much like mr. tongue does not pick up after me, or wash my car for me. Tourism is an itemized income source that must improve itself from within its resource pool. All who earn directly can be participants that their future income may remain protected in tourism. Asking people for their pride will only turn their heads unto their necessities. It must be a practical and workable solution that once implemented noticeable changes will occur. U Concur?

    • Emile Zapatos
      February 25, 2015

      This is a health problem that need immediate attention and solution. It can impact every aspect of our economy, not only tourism. It can put the total population and visitors at risk. We cannot wait for an epidemic or a plague to take action.
      Mr Tongue has shown that he is aware of the problem and has elevated public awareness. Lets us hope that his words are warnings to be followed by the necessary actions that will make the populate take him seriously. Let us hope that keeping Roseau and the rest of the country clean will become his legacy.
      Many have tried.
      It is difficult to overcome the cynical and critical, but it can be done. You have to pass the test of true leadership with positive thinking. Yes we can ! Yes I can !

      • Titiwi
        February 25, 2015

        You are right mr. Shoes. Leadership really is test and we must overcome it. I agree with you that it is difficult but we can effect change. Yes Sir, change is a must!

  11. tet pool
    February 24, 2015

    Woosh! Alas Robbie sing another song nah….we hear that tune sung enough time already we..awa man.

  12. Wondering
    February 24, 2015

    I totally agree. As individuals we need to do things for ourselves and the tourists will also enjoy it. The Government and Roseau City Council should also do the same. Don’t fix the pot holes just because elections are on the way. Don’t fix the pot holes because tourist season is approaching. Don’t start thinking of the vagrancy problem because it is affecting the tourist. The vagrants are Dominicans. Deal with the underlying problem, find a long term solution and the vagrant Dominicans, the non-vagrant Dominicans and the tourists will benefit. The change in mentality and the development of pride must take place at the top, middle bottom, every level of society.

  13. Talk shop
    February 24, 2015

    I have heard all this before, bunch of talk and nothing not there. I watch and wait. First of all the traffic congestion that is caused because two little broke tourist coming is where we should start. Its a blatant disrespect to the people of the country who needs to get about their daily business without this grave inconvenience. Anyway you just reach not sure for how long but i will keep watching.

  14. Mamizoo
    February 24, 2015

    While I agree with te sentiments shared by the minster I continue to be disappointed in the fact that these ministers contine to ignore their mirrors on the wall. Blame every thing and every body else but themselves.
    The people will go as far the government lead them . The quality of garbage disposal will be as good as the facilities and services provided by the government; the vendor location will be a city Soleil like Haiti’s because the people can only do as much – no proper vendor arcade.
    Roseau stinks because public sanitation policies suck. The stench coming from the drains is no the people’s fault ; the decaying infrastructure is not the people’s doing.
    It would be fitting to hear the ministers own up to their responsibilitiesinstead of pointing fingers all the time.
    The question is what has the government done to take tourism to another level. They met the facilities which were built by the Freedom Party and the UWP.

  15. Tourism stakeholder
    February 24, 2015

    I fail to see what the Tour Operators, Taxi Drivers, etc can do about the problem of garbage in and around the city. As a Tour Operator, the obvious choice would be to avoid bringing visitor to Roseau at all cost. But it is just not practical. The other option would be to lobby and encourage the powers that be to step up to the plate and take responsibility for the dismal condition of Roseau. Do what is necessary to get the city and environs clean. Mr. Minister, there is a litter act on the statues. Enforce it. This is how the other country deal with the matter. Secondly, no one will want to hear this; but I think it would be a good idea in this day and age to confine the Carnival to a special designated area where garbage and people can be controlled. It is a humongous task to clean up after carnival, and no one thinks the garbage collectors and street cleaners were enjoying the carnival and are just as tired as everyone else.

  16. Dominican abroad
    February 24, 2015

    Mr Tongue, you are right. Dominicans don’t have enough pride in their beautiful Island. I am not a born Dominican but my parents are and I grew up there. I promote Dominica wherever I go. When I am abroad and hear Dominicans put down their place of birth it hurts my heart.
    Tourism is not the business of the Government or business alone, it is the business of the whole country. Keeping the place clean, not stealing from the tourists, being who we are, good, kind helpful people. not all the people are unhelpful or unkind so the person who said that is wrong. Dominicans on the whole I find are kind, helpful and generous. Dominicans at home or abroad should help the Government and the business people to promote Dominica and do what they can to encourage Tourists to enjoy the Island so that they want to come back and bring family and friends. Some people should stop blaming others and do something themselves.

  17. Ma Moses
    February 24, 2015

    I agree entirely but pride in a country has to be instilled from above. We are only 70,000, and it does no good for a leader to be seen almost more outside than inside the country and when he is here to be driving around around in a vehicle with tinted windows, in fancy suit surrounded by armed body guards and not mingling with us, getting his hands dirty. This gives the impression almost as if he is ashamed of his own country. The man in the palace reinforces this kind of attitude. How can one have pride in a country when the leaders display a disdain for the common people and detach themselves from them? They have to come down from their thrones and roll their sleeves up.

  18. jeffry
    February 24, 2015

    Trading the oil market is an easy to make money. Especially when you apply the Bionic Traders method. Want to learn more? Just Google Bionic Traders and you’ll see what I mean.

  19. coyote
    February 24, 2015

    more talk blah,blah,blah.no action ,no plan just empty words. here’s an idea how about resurfacing the entire road network for Roseau,redo the drains make sure the are covered with storm drains at strategic locations that in itself would provide sidewalk for pedestrians.How about public toilets in town,manned by an attendant who would take a small fee for using said toilets while keeping them clean and fit for use.How about rubbish bins in town those with small openings only big enough to take trash and bottles.How about more police on the streets of Roseau with powers to issue fixed fines for littering,urinating and being a public nuisance. These little steps would be for ourselves and for the tourists too, mister minister.

  20. out of south city
    February 23, 2015

    Yes, Mr. Tonge, I second the motion. Charity begins at home. We, as the citizens of Dominica, are responsible for making Dominica stand out in the Caribbean. If we are a proud people, we would be taking care of our island and not wait for tourists to do any home-cleaning. We should keep our surroundings clean whether there are tourists or not. We should not wait for visitors to put away the homeless. The homeless should be taken care of in a facility on a daily basis, where they are cared for as any other human being. They are people too and they need our love and care. Why should we put them away for the sake of dollars? The prime minister should see to it that they are taken care of and the island should be free of filth (rubbish, trash or whatever one may call it), not because of tourists but because we ought to maintain cleanliness as a nation.

    ONE LOVE

  21. Dear Tonge in Cheek
    February 23, 2015

    My suggestion Mr. Tonge One Sunday take your privileged with( all ur friends and well wishes) Butt unto a clean up campaign in Roseau Get your boots on gloves shovel spade whatever is ur tool of choice.
    When I was many yrs younger a group of us cleaned up the river side that was in 1975. today it’s a far cry.
    So put ur energy where ur mouth is lead by ej bro. Sacrifice a night of eating and drinking en la grande
    and rise early.
    Do this, and see me after talker. No need to wait on November 2015.The idea can me link with Piper et AL and for once do some meaningful work. This could /should be adopted by ur ministry once a month.
    As the song goes; ! in 4 ain’t bad.

    • Dear Tonge in Cheek
      February 23, 2015

      Sorry that ought to have read ur privileged Butt. No pon intended these are obvious facts.
      people who don’t cook always eat out while farmers etc can cook a meal on stones by the river or on their plantation while planting or harvesting.

  22. TALK IS CHEAP
    February 23, 2015

    21st darling :mrgreen:
    sounds like you need to keep up yourself

  23. chowmien
    February 23, 2015

    If you Mr. Robert Tongue had any semblance of PRIDE you will not be entangle with an irresponsible cabal that is hawking off all the national treasures for a pot of porridge. What self respecting nation hand over its national park to a foreigner and to add insult to injury you even giving him our national passports to sell for his own interest.

    If you want an example of nation who have pride in their country take a look at the Jews of Israel, You will never get a Jew giving 1 inch of Israel to any foreigner(specially former colonial masters) For that matter they are trying to get more not less.

    It’s only idiots who give up their national patrimony, setting up their grand children for second class status in their own land. The sad thing about it is after you shamelessly supported this treasonous affront in parliament, you have the hypocritical guts to turn around and demand pride from the hapless citizenry. Magway sa!!

  24. chicken gone ye
    February 23, 2015

    i have never seen a beautiful ghetto,DA is a big ghetto and you can not have foolish pride if u can not even pay your bills and feed your children,so when a man that only knows niceness tells the poor man have pride……well to be nice,that man has no idea what he is talking about,as brother bob said ‘WHO FEELS IT KNOWS IT ‘ you want me to clean the road and i can not even eat a bread…as they say in antigua,a joke u a make

  25. February 23, 2015

    Mr. Minister the people who truly loves the environment is in agreement with you . true say.

  26. irma
    February 23, 2015

    I totally agree that roads gutters etc should be sparkling clean; however whatever happen to people showing kindness, by means of the display of customer service. On a personal level, though its an island, but that is not an excuse for “poor customer service” from merchants, associates, taxi drivers, hotel attendants etc. I have visited many other places, and the people are go out of there way to be friendly, to be nice, provide countless help and information. While the people on the island of Dominica are very unpleasant, and reluctant to assist any visitors. Dominica should capitalize on its oasis of natural inhabitant. The island is enclaved, with numerous bodies of both fresh and salt water, not to mention greenery and tropical climate which is what tourist escape too. Mr. Tonge, I urge you to get Dominica on the economic map through “tourism”. When am I going to see a commercial about Dominica in the US as many of the adjoining islands have done. #good customer service is…

    • MADDURO
      February 24, 2015

      while I agree with most of your comments, I thinks gutters should be covered and not expose to what flows in it..
      the tourist always complain on their blogs that the island is beautiful but to many open drains… the roads in Roseau should be completely resurfaced with drains covered so people can get more walkways…

    • Peter Potter
      February 24, 2015

      Irma you are so right, but unfortunately this is beyond our government. Their priorities are somewhere else and if you keep reading the local press you soon get the yeast of it.

  27. real possie
    February 23, 2015

    Yep well said Sir. I said that long time ago, then they turn around and blame other people for not cleaning the mess but never the one who made the mess in the 1st place. That thing about cleaning the place once a year in November is where we went wrong.

  28. anonymous
    February 23, 2015

    what about the architectural and urban industries and the professionals who participate in them? those are the built environment which are a direct outward expression of our society does it not hold any importance? it’s the very first thing that any visitor will encounter upon visiting the country and i believe it should be held with high regard.

    • Titiwi
      February 24, 2015

      Can we begin please with people taking pride in using their language properly instead of strangling it? If this is the product of our universal secondary education we are off to a bad start.

  29. APachie Indian
    February 23, 2015

    yes is true because we are like parot when come yo put away vagrance every year when their are ship in port that true .just talk no action and the logo is MY PALREP SEND ME.

  30. Marguerite
    February 23, 2015

    Yes, finally somebody said it. Wow. YES!!!!! We need to have more pride as a Country. Yes Yes Yes Yes. This applies to everything.

  31. TALK IS CHEAP
    February 23, 2015

    tell us something we don’t know. like how are the filthy PAROS going to be removed from the city.?

  32. REAL!!!!
    February 23, 2015

    Robbie…..We need to hear more about policies making and viable executable plans to help create an attractive tourism product.

    I don’t disagree Dominicans need to instill a sense of pride but it is a very small component of what makes a successful tourism product.

    You might be too young to remember but we had pride on this island during Eugenia reign but our tourism product was poor and undeveloped.

    • Emile Zapatos
      February 25, 2015

      We had pride when Baron, J B Charles, Leblanc and John held political leadership and leadership in the Jaycees.

      • Emile Zapatos
        February 26, 2015

        We lost that pride when Mary Eugenia Charles introduced looting and victimization and dreadism in Dominica. Its a hard road to return to nice days.

  33. Meg So
    February 23, 2015

    I agree with those comments. It is such a shame that when flowers are planted to make the place look good, they are stolen. If you go to a small island like Nevis, you see the pride that the people take in the island.

    • Emile Zapatos
      February 25, 2015

      Improper waste disposal put the population of a country at risk of all kinds of illness and mutated diseases. It provides harvest conditions for malaria, colera, yellow fever , typhod – to name a few. We as a people should stop trashing our place of residence. Our obligation should be to keep it clean.
      Through the years several city council have had “keep the city clean campaigns”, but alas the response of the population of Roseau has been dismal. No authority can do what the people should do for themselves. Do you trash your home? Don’t you call on your kids to clean their rooms and wash their hands before eating? Bottom line is we know what to do, we know fight from wrong.

      • Emile Zapatos
        February 25, 2015

        Yes we know right from wrong, but if we can blame others or think we will not face any punishment and get away with our badness we wont stop.

  34. Nepotism
    February 23, 2015

    Hon Tonge can we start using the politically correct words “vagrant” – the homeless and this occur due to social exclusion. substance abuse. so please use the right words you are the minister for tourism and urban renewal. Read, Read Read and keep with the 20th century

    • TALK IS CHEAP
      February 23, 2015

      21st darling :mrgreen:
      you need to keep up

    • Digital Future
      February 24, 2015

      Thats the problem you are stuck in the 20th Century……its the 21st century darling

    • The Facts
      February 24, 2015

      The 20th year, 2015 means we are in the 21st century.

  35. Zandoli
    February 23, 2015

    Tonge, don’t start with the same thing your predecessor (Sean Douglas) did while he held that portfolio. This “we should” business never works.

    You have to take the bull by the horn and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.

    Things don’t happen by themselves. Worse yet, when a leader falls into that “we should” trap, that is a guaranteed sign that nothing will happen.

    Please don’t take that road. You have a business background, and to be successful as a businessman, you cannot afford to talk like that.

    I am in business and you will never hear me say that. When I want things done, I give direction to people and I follow up to make sure the task is accomplished. That is how you get things done.

    • fill
      February 24, 2015

      You mean Ian Douglas.

    • Emile Zapatos
      February 25, 2015

      @ Zandoli……………The Public Administrators and the Politicians should take lessons from you. They are yet to learn how to treat matters with “dispatch”- to follow up and evaluate and to take action when decisions and orders are not implemented. ,

    • Titiwi
      February 25, 2015

      Yes, I have no love for our government of today but I propose we give mr. Tong a chance to prove himself, that he can make a difference before laying into him like that. I think he deserves that much. If we don’t see any improvement after say 3 – 4 months lets talk again. We should not prejudge him.

    • Titiwi
      February 25, 2015

      Sean Douglas was never Minister for Tourism. You surely mean his relative Ian Douglas!

  36. yu
    February 23, 2015

    ok sir now u are the minister show them how it has to be done..I KNOW U CAN DO IT

  37. Kent Charles
    February 23, 2015

    Mr Tongue,

    I am hearing that your ministry will soon be undertaking an initiative to make the Kalinago Territory a model for successful community tourism in Dominica. Something that the rest of Dominica can pattern on? If that’s the case, that’s a great move Mr Tongue!

    These are the type of vibes that I want to hear. U sung what we have for the good of all the people!!!

    • Dominic
      February 24, 2015

      yes great move but u will c something haping in 20 20

  38. Nunya
    February 23, 2015

    Sounds like mister has a lot of work to walk the walk, he already talk the talk. Just do it!

    • Hablar muchismo
      February 23, 2015

      The minister name is Mr. Tonge. That explains it. If a man name is Tonge then is talk talk habla habla parler , parler anytille. Tonge joins a bunch of talkers and his name is Tonge. pepip is a talker, Medard hablar mucho if given a chance. a bunch of guys who just run their mouth.

  39. alas
    February 23, 2015

    I feel like de public ia being blamed for de shortcomings
    Of elected and higher officials. De issue of garbage
    Disposal is de responsibility of Solid Waste. If de regular
    Day for pick up is Wednesday then my garbage will
    Be put our in Wednesday. Contingency plans for broken
    Down trucks is de responsibility of Solid Waste.
    I hope you not suggesting that I bring de garbage
    Back inside my house. So who responsible for de
    Environment and health.
    Are you suggesting that we should be doing de
    Officials work for dem???
    Padna i am unemployed for 2years
    I do what. I can for my children to eat.
    Dem high officials like you are guaranteed your
    Big fat cheque at month end.
    I not lucky like you.

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