Updated: November 12, 2017

Nov 12, 2017

As Dominica enters the 8th week post Hurricane Maria, many of the International organizations will be transitioning to leave Dominica.  As expected, in the immediate period following any natural disaster of the magnitude experienced by Dominica, an issue of critical importance was the availability of food and water.  It is essential for the public to know how important the UN World Food Program (WFP) was in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria. It is customary for the WFP to step in as quickly as possible, to get food to victims in the quickest way possible and, that is what happened in Dominica.

Consequently, as the World Food Program transitions from food delivery to cash vouchers, it is critical to keep in mind that this money is derived from tax payers from generous countries worldwide.  The United States, Germany, European Union, United Kingdom, Canada and Japan contributes seventy-five percent of the funds to the WFP Annual budget; for 2017, the US contributed about 42 percent of the program's funds. Therefore, it is important that when money is made available to the current governing Administration in Dominica to assist about 25,000 needy persons to purchase food, that it should go to them and not to Party Political supporters.  The donated food and money does not belong to the Labor Party. What ever money that is transferred to this Labor Administration must be used prudently and not squandered, as is customary, on Labor Party supporters to buy votes. This Labor Administration has a protracted history of being so partisan that they fail to understand that those organizations expect them to treat all Dominicans fairly. It is hoped that this Labor Administration has taken note that the International Organizations in Dominica are very structured and meticulous in the details of their activities and any "coco-macac" with their money will not go unnoticed. After all, the donated funds are derived from taxpayers in donor countries and are expected to be expended fairly and justly for the purpose to which these funds are assigned.

When WFP and UNICEF transition  to a cash-based intervention, they will make a joint Emergency Cash Transfer to the Labor Administration. You probably will be hard pressed to hear this administration inform the Dominican people of these details.  The current  Administration in Dominica is famous for half-truths.  So, do not be surprised that such cash vouchers may be presented as coming from this Administration. Those vouchers could just be another tool to enable them to buy votes.  This is noteworthy because the Ministry of Social Services which would normally handle such matters has been usurped by the Ministry of Finance, which is under the auspices of the Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit.

The Labor Administration has already demonstrated their disposition to skirt international norms by using donated relief supplies for political advantage. See Politicizing Hurricane Relief. This administration clearly does not understand their role. In the aftermath of Maria, instead of hunkering down to strategize a way forward for Dominica, Government Ministers  were seen in communities personally distributing relief supplies; even Ambassadors were recalled to Dominica to take part in the Melé, just to capitalize on a crisis. One would think that this disaster was an opportune time for such Ambassadors to be out on the world stage trying to get assistance for Dominica, instead they are in Dominica trying to upstage the International Organisations while at the same time using these organizations' resources for political advantage.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have been arduously at work in various districts throughout Dominica to support the beneficiary selection committees in the collection of household data on the needy, in order to facilitate distribution of cash vouchers to buy food. In other words, there will be a paper trail.  The Labor Party Administration should let that sink into their brains, just in case they have any intentions of diverting funds to people who do not need those vouchers. The world will be watching.