Maria: the second Storm hit business hard
Some call it "looting"; others, including business owners, say it's downright "stealing" and the police, accused of sitting back and allowing the plundering, whatever the name, to continue for days after Hurricane Maria devastated Dominica on 18 September 2017, has arrested and charged several persons and some have been convicted.
One police officer is currently on bail in the sum of EC$10,000 after being arrested and charged for alleged "looting" of items after Hurricane Maria, the Sun can report.
Magistrates who presided over the "looting" cases have made it clear when sentencing the accused that "such behaviour is unacceptable".
And at Police Headquarters in Roseau, the yard is "littered" with items from Courts Dominica, the Muslim Store, Cash Wiz and other businesses.
The recovered items now stored at Police Headquarters are valued at more than EC$100,000, according to a source with information on the matter and confirmed by police public relations officer (pro) Pellam Jno Baptiste,
"I am not at liberty to speak to you on the matters since they are all before the courts…see what you can get further; sorry," a police officer told the SUN when asked for direct information related to the items seized by the police.
"All I can say to you is that the items seized by the police runs well over fifty thousand dollars…stoves, flat screen TV, living room sets, wash machines, fridges and other appliances," said the source who spoke to the Sun on the usual conditions of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the issue.
The police have reported that at one individual's home they seized items valued at over EC$100,000.
"I can confirm to you that so far the approximate value of goods already recovered by the police is EC$297,000.00. Investigations are ongoing," Jno Baptiste said.
Jno Baptiste has "high praises" for the police for its work in the search and recovery of the items.
"We want to assure the public that we are working relentlessly and diligently to bring the perpetrators of these alleged crimes to justice and we want to thank all those who have so far assisted us in one or another in this regard," Jno Baptiste said.
He has also praised the regional troops who were here after Hurricane Maria and who assisted in the search and recovery of the stolen items.
"We want to say a big thank you to the men and women from the Regional Security System (RSS). Those from Jamaica and all over who came to our assistance, we are eternally grateful for all that you have done for us," Jno Baptiste said.
Meanwhile, the Dominica Business Forum (DBF) a group of private sector organisations has demanded, from government, an independent inquiry in to the looting, compensation for the loss of business and other demands. Government has not responded, according to DBF chairman Severin McKenzie at a press conference on Wednesday last week.