With Dominica still struggling to pick up the pieces after it was battered by Hurricane Maria on September 18, a rattled prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit on Friday turned his wrath on certain unnamed elements in the country who, in his estimation, were seeking to undermine the recovery effort.
Instead of his usual update on the relief efforts, the prime minister used much of this morning’s daily media briefing to lambaste those persons who he said were using social media and other methods to spread false information about Dominica in light of the storm.
“This talk about food supplies and partisanship with food supplies and politicians are the ones dealing with the delivery of food supplies, this is total nonsense,” a visibly upset Skerrit said at the briefing, which was carried live on social media.
“As the prime minister of this country, I sleep on the floor. As the prime minister of this country, I bathed this morning from a bucket of water. I don’t eat corned beef, I don’t eat sardines, so where the hell am I going to put corned beef or stock up sardines at my home or anywhere else?” he demanded to know.
Skerrit explained that while relief supplies were coming in, there were limitations in terms of places to store the supplies in communities because every single home in the country was damaged during the passage of Maria, which also claimed 27 lives.
He also made it clear that the distribution of supplies was being managed by the international aid agencies.
“People who are seeking to undermine the government’s effort of bringing relief and bringing aid and bringing restoration of services to our country, need to stop it,” he said.
“We can’t be going out there on social media, on the radio and elsewhere and making these unfounded, baseless, malicious allegations. It’s not going to hurt me and this thing must stop. Because it’s really p*****g me off that there are people out there talking a bunch of nonsense about food supplies.
“All of these attempts are geared to undermine our efforts,” a furious Skerrit said, adding that “this damn country has been destroyed. It’s been devastated. Schools are destroyed and people are out there talking a bunch of nonsense about food supplies and political interference”.
The prime minister said his mandate was to ensure that his country had adequate supplies to get to every single home and every single individual in Dominica.
“This really, really p****s me off and I am very upset about what some people are doing in this country. We have to stop it. There are people ‘bussing’ their asses out there seeking to bring a better way of life for our people,” he said, adding that “the only people who will be affected by this are the most vulnerable in our country; the people whose homes have been destroyed, who do not know where they will be sleeping tonight; the people who do not know whether when Monday comes if they will have a job; who do not know how they are going to pay their mortgages.
“I am telling you I am really p****d off and I have not gotten p****d off since the hurricane but this nonsense must stop. What the hell, we have to stop it! Do we want to wake up one morning and have no government in place to run this country?”
Skerrit said he planned to address the nation on Friday night to give a full update on the relief efforts thus far.
However, based on the latest report issued by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) overnight, over 16 tonnes of relief packages and over 46, 000 litres of water had been distributed as at September 26.
CDEMA however said there were still challenges with access into north eastern communities such as Marigot, where the Douglas-Charles Airport is located, and the Kalinago territory on the east coast of the island. However, it said power had been restored to the Princess Margaret Hospital on the outskirts of the capital Roseau, operations have resumed at the port and the security situation in the island had started to stabilize in the wake of the storm.