Updated: May 06, 2018
 "By a Lie, a man..... annihilates his dignity as a man" by Immanuel Kant, Philosopher.

At a time when the Commonwealth of Dominica needs every bit of resource available, the Labor Administration continues to add to the woes of the island. The latest follies comes in the form of a new bureaucracy named "Rapid Response Social Recovery Agency", a legal replacement for the illegal "Red Clinic" operating from the Prime Minister's Office.  It is difficult to fathom why a Public Assistance programme cannot operate as separate division of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Why do you need a Statutory body to manage it? Does it mean that the Minister referenced under the Act could be from a different Ministry? The Act does not state under which ministry this new agency will be housed. Is it because there is a plan to locate it in the Ministry of Finance?

Here are the areas covered under the above Act meant to enable this new Agency.

1. Home repairs and drainage improvements
2. Health
3. Education
4. Poverty alleviation
5. Access to water or sanitary facilities
6. Micro business
7. Recovery from natural disaster

With the exception of no.7 on the list, it is hard to see why the other items would be an emergency, thereby evoking a rapid response.  All the other items should fall under their appropriate Ministries. Take for example, no. 3, Education. Should't that be a more comprehensive and long term plan delivered by the Emergency Disaster Mitigation Department in Collaboration with the Ministry of Education? Where are the resilient schools? Is it the plan to evacuate kids amass again? Let's look at no. 4, "Poverty alleviation". Isn't that a desire for the whole country? How is it that an issue like 'poverty' gets a rapid response, especially if, to qualify you have to meet the criteria of Section (2)(a-f)? How rapid will this process be or will it be that monies will be handed out to choice people the same as it was done in the Red Clinic except now it can be considered "legal"?

The Prime Minister and many members of his cabinet who contributed in defense of the Act seem to concentrate on health matters.  They decided to stoke Dominicans' fear. In particular, in his delivery in the house of Assembly this week, the PM proceeded to go on a long winding, disconnected and incomprehensible explanation of how difficult and expensive it was for people to fly overseas for 'Medical Care'.  Why would the Prime Minister chose this aspect of the bill to beat it to death and totally ignore one of the most important? To fool the Dominican people once again! Skerritt wanted the Dominican people to think that that Bill was meant to assist people to go abroad for Medical treatment and that the Opposition was against it. That is pure fear mongering. This is an Administration trying to put a band-aid on its colossal failure to effectively manage and upgrade the health services in Dominica over the past 18 years. Had that been done, the need for Dominicans to seek medical care overseas would have been significantly less.

It is fact that healthcare has deteriorated under the Labor Party Administration.  The Dominican people are having difficulty accessing proper healthcare because the institutions have been left to deteriorate. Nurses are leaving and the so-called National Hospital is at a standstill because they botched an opportunity to build a Climate-resilient hospital in the first instance.  As it stands, healthcare in Dominica is in a crisis. It is futile to think that by promising the citizens that they can be flown out for healthcare will solve the crisis in health care services on the island. This is just an appeasement tactic to make up for the mismanagement of such a vital aspect of a citizens existence; their healthcare.

All in all, The "Rapid Response Social Recovery Agency" is another tool designed by the Labor Administration to ensure they continue to have a grip on the public purse to accrue political advantage by promoting dependency. Roosevelt Skerrit and his cabinet ministers are acutely aware that 'Red Clinic' was focused on everything except the health of the nation, but they continue to paint this hypocritical picture. The new agency will also add another tool for the Administration to take advantage of financial resources presented to Dominicans by International Agencies like the World Food Program through its 'Voucher Assistance', UNICEF and other agencies. Many of these International Organizations and Donors are uncomfortable with the potential for diversion of funds to purposes other than intended or abuse for political purpose. Unfortunately, Dominica Labor Party is one step ahead of these International Agencies. The ruling administration has already devised a 'legal means' to divert International monetary assistance.  It is up to Dominicans to put a stop to this nonsense or forever remain mired in a cesspool of corruption, managerial confusion and declining national pride. The time is nigh!