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George Santayana said "Those who forget the past are bound to repeat it" I am saddened that today in an independent Dominica, the vendors are being forced out of Roseau for the simple task of attempting to earn an honest living. The street vendor is integral to the social fabric of the Roseau culture. The street vendor adds colour and character to the Roseau scene making Roseau a place of interest for the visiting tourist.

As a citizen of Roseau born and brought up on Queen Mary Street in the 60's Lagoon was the center of activities it created a buzz; a place of interest, sadly the street vendors were relocated to the New Market creating a void in the Town.

While the law may be on the side of the Mayor, the dogmatic attitude does not represent a Labour government sworn to represent the interest of the poor people. The truth is the vendors are not impeding the business of the shops where they sell, they are not competition and neither do they impede business. The vendors' presence on the sidewalks are actually an asset to the businesses as after the vendors sell their produce they in turn are able to buy from the shops thus creating a turnover of finances which is good for the islands economy.

On another level selling on the roadside gives autonomy to the people of Dominica, it demonstrates an independent Dominica. Dominica became independent to give the citizens of Dominica self-sufficiency. These vendors are the bloodline, the soul of Dominica and its people. It was also Patrick John who took Dominica to independence so we the people of Dominica could determine our future and our lives.

The Dominican dream from colony to self-rule to independence was always about the people who lived from the land and not about re-enslaving the people in the interest of conglomerates or big interest.

Using the Police Force against the people is never a smart move, the police are supposed to be there to protect the people of Dominica and their interest. The street vendor represents the heart and soul of Dominica, the people for whom independence was gained from Britain so they the people of Dominica could have freedom of expression, freedom to earn a living wherever they desire.

As a people in our haste to be like the rest of the world let us guard against the inclination to become the oppressors of our own people. It was Frederick Douglas who said that "the slave will always copy the ways of his master even when free".

Let us be truly free and implement our laws to benefit the interest of the people of Dominica. Do not turn the clock back, when the black man had no rights in his own land. Do not undo the Leblanc Revolution of the 60's when the poor fought and gained autonomy and the 70 independence from the massa mentality. Do not be the blacks who sold their sisters and brothers into economic slavery for bubbles and guns to kill their own, do not betray your people vote.

A concerned Dominican Claire Trocard-Lecointe


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