PM Skerrit condemns notion of ‘Red Clinic’ attendees being beggars

Prime Minister Skerrit has condemned what he describes as forces at work “to besmirch and undermine the good name of Dominica in the eyes of the region and the world.”

In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, the prime minister said, “the sight of hundreds of persons outside the Office of the Prime Minister seeking an audience with the Prime Minister to discuss matters of personal, community and national interest, can be seen from different perspectives.”

Skerrit’s statement comes against the background of photos of these people circulating on social media, some of them bearing text which is critical of the Red Clinic, an avenue through which members of the public can seek assistance from the prime minister.

“I take strong abjection and serious offense to the interpretation of this as Dominicans being hungry and desperate for food and coming to the office of the Prime Minister for a pittance,” the Prime Minister said in his statement. “Nothing could be further from the truth and I unreservedly apologize to all those who were defamed and insulted by the portrayal of them as such.”

Skerrit said what happened on Wednesday was indicative of an open door policy which he instituted since he became prime minister where Dominicans can have as much access to him as any other person, foreigner or otherwise, who has a reason to meet with the prime minister.

He concedes that “the scene outside of the office of the Prime Minister today, Wednesday January 9th, was particularly unfortunate and unsightly.” He said he assumed that following the holiday season, many people wanted to meet with the Prime Minister “and they all came on the day they know his doors are thrown wide open.”

The statement continues, “I take strong objection to the notion that people come to their Prime Minister to beg. That is wrong! It is offensive and degrading!”