Dominica’s Shame – Skerrit’s Red Clinic


By Trevor Trocard

January 9, 2019 2:02 P.M

dominica's red clinic
Scores of locals scrabble to get handouts from the prime minister
Roseau, Dominica (TDN) - As the doors around the prime minister’s offices opened on Wednesday January 9, 2019 scores of poor impoverished Dominicans streamed in. They were all in search of one thing - a financial favor from Dominica’s prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

After more than 18 years in office, the number of Dominica’s poor continue to ratchet upward. Skerrit’s destruction of the agriculture sector, which for years had supported more than 70 percent of the population effectively confined scores of families to a life of misery and poverty.

This stark reality was amply demonstrated on Wednesday when Dominicans who are not lucky enough to have families working overseas send them remittances, and others lined up patiently to get a chance to make a direct appeal to the prime minister for financial assistance.

In scenes seen nowhere else in the civilized world Skerrit on any given Wednesday opens up his office, and drawing from unbudgeted funds from the state coffers doles out financial payments to citizens for anything ranging from purchase of cooking fuel to payment of school fees.

In today’s Dominica the economic situation is bad and getting worse and those less able to fend for themselves brave the public ridicule and shame to line up patiently sometimes for hours to receive a financial favor from their prime minister.

While this tactic may seem crude and demeaning it has served Skerrit’s DLP well. Persons who brave the public outrage and scorn feel compelled to support him at the polls. Indeed, talk to anyone going to the Red Clinic and they will readily confess that without a caring and giving prime minister their situation would be untenable.

Many come back week after week while others are content to do the one off but whatever their motivation they keep coming. This reckless giving of state resources is just one more example of Skerrit’s flagrant disregard for laws, which govern the use of state resources.

A year ago when confronted on the need to shut down the Red Clinic and allow the state welfare mechanism to help the needy Skerrit tacitly responded that he “could not allow people to go pray to God for help when he could help them.”

So yes Skerrit has helped Dominica in ways beyond our wildest nightmares. He has helped a once strong and growing middleclass to whittle down into persons barely able to get by. Worse, he has turned an entire generation of once proud Dominicans into a colony of beggars.

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