We wonder why?
The first stanza of Dominica's national anthem says:
Isle of beauty: Isle of Splendour
Isle to all so sweet and fair
All must surely gaze in wonder
At thy gifts so rich and rare…..
This is what Dominica is all about, however times have changed and although the overall beauty of the island still exists, we, the people of Roseau have caused much of the beauty of our old town, now city to be damaged.
We lament the fact that recently we have received bad publicity. We, a kindly and friendly people, surely do not deserve that, but do we? Tourism is our biggest earner and tourists witness many what I call "faux-pas" committed here in Roseau and perhaps elsewhere on the island. I will mention only a few:
There being no public latrines here in the city, encourages people to urinate in the alleys and streets, much to the disgust of tourists and the majority of Dominicans. Yet when we get bad publicity, we wonder why? Long ago we had four public latrines in Roseau. One was adjacent to the Catholic Cemetery on Independence Street, one was at the bay front adjacent to the Fort Young Hotel; one was near the mouth of the Roseau River near the present market; one was near the river bank close to the City Garage on River Street. Tell me, do any of them still exist?
The drains smell! Especially the one near the old Roseau Market adjacent to the Royal Bank of Canada. When tourists disembark from the Bayfront and walking the city this is what greets them and they react, yet we wonder why?
The streets and gutters are dirty with unclaimed rubbish, yet we wonder why? In the past, they were hosed down regularly at least once a month.
The beggars and "paros" are a nuisance and trouble the tourists. The police do not touch them, human rights I suppose, yet we wonder why the bad publicity?
Walking in Roseau with our narrow streets made worse by double parking is not pleasant, but dangerous and those tourists who prefer a city tour and want to walk around feel hampered and frustrated. That also gives us bad publicity.
The motor cyclists wear no headgear as prescribed by law, yet they get away with it and weave in and out of traffic causing problems and accidents. The tourists are not blind and see and hear, and they also observe the mentally impaired walk the streets indecently exposed. When we get bad ratings from the tourists, we wonder why?
Even some vendors talk roughly to the tourists when they do not buy from them. Luckily not the majority who are polite and well trained! But the few tourists who feel hurt give us bad publicity, and we wonder why?
There are a few individuals who walk our streets at night looking to commit burglary. Sometimes they succeed. If they happen to meet some individual on an errand, they attack and rob that person. This is happening today. Last year two visiting Australian cricket reporters ventured out from their hotel to walk in the city. They were attacked and robbed! This was reported and of course went viral! This negative publicity does not help our economy and we wonder why?
There was talk of beautifying the city, installing traffic lights and bus terminals etc. This is laudable, but will never materialize in my lifetime
Let us be realistic with our limited funds. Come on Dominica, we definitely need to get our act together and rectify all those faults or "faux-pas" that are occurring in our city of Roseau. Surely we deserve better than that! Most of these observations, if not all, are not insurmountable, so let's get cracking and bring Roseau back to a sound footing.
If not, we will continue to receive bad publicity and poor ratings from the "Cruise Ships" as compared to other islands and again we still will wonder why?
Dr. William E.V. Green