There was mixed reaction to government’s decision to implement a state of emergency and twenty-four hours curfew on Sunday 8 July 2018 as the country prepared to face Hurricane Beryl.
These measures were taken, as per Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, to ensure the safety and security of all citizens and residents as well as prevent looting which occurred post Hurricane Maria.
Dominica Vibes took to the streets of the City on Monday 9 July to inquire from citizens’ what their thoughts were of the measures taken by government in preparation for the storm.
“Well going forward from Maria, I think the police, the government, the Minister of Defense, they were all prepared to do what was necessary to safeguard life first, property, and then our lifestyle, to bring the country back to normal as soon as possible,” Samantha Robinson stated.
She is hopeful that these measures will be implemented in the future “whenever a storm of that nature is approaching Dominica”.
Many citizens, most of whom chose to remain anonymous, were supportive of the measures taken, noting that these should be put in place anytime a threatening weather system is approaching.
On the other hand, there were quite a few persons who disagreed with the measures taken but decline to explain why they disagreed or speak on the record.
“I think it was a good move by the Police Force and the government to implement the curfew because based on what happened during Maria, with the looting and all that stuff, it was a good move, for the business places preferably,” one man stated.
Another citizen thought it was a good decision for the Police Force to take proactive action, noting that in the event that the storm had impacted the island adversely, the state would have been safer, and businesses protected.
“I am particularly happy for what the police did. They were out in numbers; a good show of force, with them being proactive as opposed to being reactive. The last time they didn’t particularly shine and I thought this time that they did a pretty good job,” he noted.
One very passionate young lady stated that while many were displeased with the curfew, it was the correct decision to take at that time, especially not knowing what effect the weather system might have had on the country.
“The Prime Minister is not God; he doesn’t know what the weather holds. So he has to put things in place, because the last time people complained. You can never always please people, so you do what you know is right, because you cannot take chances with people. He had to do what he had to do as head of the country, and as a leader, and that was right,” she stated.
Another said he supported the measures taken “two hundred percent” and proposed that “if another storm is approaching us again, I believe that the same measures or even stronger measures should be taken”.
“I think it was a good initiative by the government to take these precautionary measures, seeing that we all experienced Maria,” another citizen stated.
“So we should take those measures in advance of any real threat, because although we knew that the storm was downgrading, I still liked to see the government taking those steps. It was a good thing,” he added.
However, some persons thought that the measures taken were a bit extreme, and should have been taken after the passage of the storm.
“The call for that state of emergency, and curfew, I think they put that in place much too early. Because what if you had an emergency at your home, somebody of yours get sick and you don’t have a pass, and you have to drive to the hospital, what happens then,” a male adult questioned.
He said while the preparatory steps taken by individuals were great, the measures taken by government were taken too soon.
“I think they move to early into that. It should be something done after the passage of the storm, then you can have a state of emergency and curfew,” he stated.