Dominica last week: Top five stories you may have missed
Joseph is UWP's interim leader
Following the resignation of Lennox Linton as the political leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) on September 30, the executive body of the political party has confirmed the deputy leader of the party, Senator Francisca Joseph as the interim political leader.
In their first public statement since Linton's resignation, the party said, "this selfless act by Honourable Linton has once again brought to the fore his personality as an inspirational statesman committed to the growth and development of everyone who resides in the nation-state, as envisioned by him in his oftentimes repeated passionate, truthful and sincere statement that he wishes Dominica to be the best to work, live in and to enjoy life."
The management committee assured the public that the party's constitutional provisions shall be activated, "which will trigger the process of electing someone to be the party's political leader."
They also noted that Linton continues to be the parliamentary leader of the opposition and parliamentary representative of the Marigot Constituency.
Dispute over the Roseau Bayfront
A dispute over the Roseau Bayfront last week erupted, as vendors expressed outrage over what they labeled as a complete disrespect by the authorities to relocate them saying that the proposed location will stifle their much-needed employment.
Speaking during the Roseau Bayfront Vendors Association protest, Debbie Warrington, highlighted that a letter was sent to the Ministry of Tourism, International Transport, and Maritime Initiatives on Monday, September 26, 2022, informing them that the vendors were approached by Dominica Air and Sea Port Authority (DASPA) informing them that they needed to vacate the government-built structures by Friday, September 30, 2022.
Warrington expressed frustration that no letter was issued by the authorities which she stated is "very unprofessional" and "disrespectful". She said the information was further confirmed unofficially by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the DASPA, Benoit Bardouille.
"We find the treatment given to the vendors is very disrespectful and inhumane, hence we the vendors are unanimously in disagreement with such acts of the authorities and as such we have agreed based on the above statement that we are not moving," she declared.
Seeking to address the situation, Tourism Minister, Denise Charles a few days later gave the vendors the assurance that moves to have them relocated are temporary and their frustration may have been a case of poor communication.
The minister noted that the relocation is simply geared at preparing the Bayfront for the upcoming cruise season and the work of the Government is aimed at increasing cruise calls and getting new ships onboard.
Furthermore, Charles explained that in cruise tourism there is an 'on season' between October to March –April of the following year and an 'off-season' from May to September.
"During the off-season vendors normally relocate, however, this last season they were allowed to vend in the off-season considering the country is just recovering from a pandemic," she stated.
However, she said the new cruise season commences on November 1, 2022, and the government needs to prepare the Bayfront to entice more people to disembark from the ships and shop.
"So the move is temporary, not permanent," Charles reiterated.
Dominican youth to direct a film on Dementia
A film highlighting the stories of older people and families affected by dementia in the Caribbean is currently underway and being directed by Dominica's Rianna Patterson.
Patterson, who is the founder of the Dominica Dementia Foundation, is leading this documentary called 'Dementia: The Island Journey,' which focuses on dementia in the Caribbean with an emphasis on Dominica.
The film will also focus on how Dominica's culture enables the residents there to live long and healthy lives, as well as Rianna's, who received the Queens Young Leader award in 2017, journey in creating an impact on the lives of the elders in the Caribbean.
It will also celebrate and show the persons living and ageing well, include elders' perspectives, and showcase the 'live longer isle' aspect as the island has many centenarians.
Dominica will host production over October, and it is anticipated that the film will be ready for distribution by December 2022.
Retired Police Sergeant Philbert Bertrand has died
The Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (CDPF) as well as family and friends of Philbert Bertrand are now in mourning following the death of the former police sergeant.
According to information from family members, Bertrand, who was a patient at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital (DCFH), was set to leave the island to undergo further medical care before he passed away on October 8, 2022.
Chairman of the Police Welfare Association (PWA) Corporal Jefferson Drigo in expressing sympathies to the family and friends of the late Philbert Bertrand described him as "a hard-working, honest, and diligent police officer who stood for fairness and justice."
Sergeant Bertrand was on pre-retirement leave and still very active in the Police Force.
Stiffer penalties for firearms and ammunition
In the near future, Dominica may see stiffer penalties being imposed on individuals who are convicted on charges of trafficking illegal firearms as a revision of the Firearm and Bail Acts will soon get underway.
According to Minister of National Security and Home Affairs Minister, Rayburn Blackmore the government will be moving expeditiously toward "tightening legislation regarding the use of illegal weapons including a mandatory lengthy jail sentence for convicted persons."
"We have strong gun laws in our country. However, laws are very organic and are meant to be changed with time. In that regard, in very quick order, further changes will be made to our Firearms Act," Blackmore stated.
"It means that there will be a mandatory custodian jail sentence for anyone found with, importing, or trafficking illegal firearms. That person will be out of circulation for a long time," he added.