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Tourism minister says opposition makes marketing Dominica very difficult
Published on March 16, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version


ROSEAU, Dominica (CBN4) -- The challenge of marketing Dominica as a tourist destination is growing increasingly difficult says tourism minister, Senator Robert Tonge.

Speaking on local radio this week, Tonge did not mince words when he condemned the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) for casting Dominica in such a negative light that discourages visitors from coming to the island.

“You can well imagine even just during the Carnival the government increased the budget to make Carnival a bigger and better Carnival and it has been a success. Some persons have said this is one of the best Carnivals they have seen,” he said.

“We know that there will always be certain shortcomings and we will work to fixing them but just imagine even Dominicans, even some Dominicans because of all the negativity that they heard, that there is rioting in the streets every day and looting, even Dominicans didn’t come to Dominica. They were scared. Or some persons whose parents wanted to come, their children said to them, ‘Hey, you know something, do not come to Dominica because what we’re hearing is just so negative we are not gonna send you to Dominica’.”

Tonge commented that no evidence is ever presented to support the claims made by the opposition, which is to the detriment of the tourism industry.

“Just imagine if a Dominican is not going to come to Dominica, imagine what a visitor is going to do. So all of this work that we’re doing, all of this awareness that we’re trying to do to differentiate between Dominica and the other countries, all the work that we’re doing to ensure that persons who are coming to Dominica are the ones who are aligned with our nature and everything else, all of this is being negatively impacted. And for what reason?” he asked. “Is it the truth? No, it is not the truth. It is alternate facts.”

According to Tonge, the government is being accused of being involved in money laundering, although a recent report refuted that claim.

Tonge stressed that the negative impact will not just affect the government or its supporters but all Dominicans.

“It is making our job very difficult. It means that even the increased funds that we have gotten from the government to increase in our marketing budget, it means that we have to do so much more,” Tonge said. “Who’s going to suffer? All of us are going to suffer. The taxi driver, the vendor, everybody is going to suffer because you have less people coming to Dominica when we should have more persons coming to Dominica, so we have to be very careful as to what image that we send out there, not only to the local market but the International market,” he admonished.

Tonge challenged those making accusations to bring facts.
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Dr. Kermit D. Frog,Phd.,:

Robert Tonge really has some nerves! In light of the six individuals that were either arrested or detained by International Law Enforcement Agencies who were ALL holders of Dominica's Diplomatic Passports within the last two years how can Mr. Tonge possibly blame the opposition for "bad publicity"????

To merely brush these arrests and detentions off as coincidence is superbly unbelievable. Mr. Tonge is simply toting the Dominica Labour Party line that criticism of the disgraced and beleaguered Prime Minister's (Roosevelt Skerrit) nefarious deeds are criticisms of the Country. HOGWASH!!!

The fact is Mr. Tonge has failed miserably as tourism minister for Dominica. Dominica's only city and capital where Cruise Ships make their calls is filthy, with dirty streets, smelly open drains, limited access to bathrooms and the smell of urine EVERYWHERE!!!!

There is no nightlife to speak of, no clean beaches, no water sports and access to main tourist sites are not easily accessible and in some places dangerous! The numbers don't lie!

2015 – 74,474
2014 – 81,511
2013 – 78,277
2012 – 78,965
2011 – 75,546
2010 – 76,518
2009 – 74,924
2008 – 81, 119
2007 – 77,809
2006 – 84,041

The negative reports by Cruise Passengers have been going on for years. The tourism industry here relies on visits to natural tourist attractions and little else!!! To blame the opposition for his lack of creativity and ideas is rather extraordinary!

Mr. Tonge has the audacity to ask for proof of wrongdoing as if the "IN YOUR FACE" arrests and detention of Diplomatic Passport holders are the most normal occurrences!!! I mean this is quite laughable, and sounds a bit like the rhetoric of Prime Minister Skerrit's chief defender, spokesman and puppet master, Anthony W. Astaphan!

Here it is you have the International Community concerned about how Alireza Monfared was able to acquire a Diplomatic Passport without any official Diplomatic posting, position or duty and these DLP apologists are asking for "PROOF"! Here it is that Dominica is being mentioned in the forefront for the flagging of 11 oil tankers which were reportedly involved in the shipment of illegal sanctioned oil..and Robert Tonge is stating that it's the opposition's bad mouthing of his saintly Prime Minister that is causing difficulties within his Ministry!

Here it is that questions are being asked in the United States about the purchase of a plush New York Condominium that is in the name of a shell Company located in the State of Delaware but yet is the residence of the Prime Minister's wife and children. Yet Tonge's problem is the questions being asked by the opposition?

Last but not least, in an attempt to misguide the public, Tonge is using an article about the laundering of proceeds from illegal narcotics trafficking as the basis of his claim that Dominica has been "cleared" of any all Money Laundering accusations. For clarification, however, it must be pointed out that this report spoke SOLELY about laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking, it did NOT speak of CBI funds that are considered tainted due to a lack of due diligence does NOT speak of assets either owned or controlled by individuals where these assets far exceed the individual's legal does NOT speak of the whereabouts of illegal monies that were either sent to or left in Dominica by Dominica's secret "Diplomats" does NOT speak of the contents of suitcases that were allegedly left behind in Saint Martin and it does NOT speak of an address at 8 COPTHALL ROSEAU VALLEY and others that were mentioned in the PANAMA PAPERS!!!!

Robert Tonge is a young man that was well-liked as he comes from a prominent and hard-working family who built a successful business in Dominica. However, since entering politics Tonge has waded waist deep into the murky waters of DLP divisive and abrasive gutter politics and propaganda!

Some do hope that Robert Tonge will soon come to his senses and return to his family and position of respect. For now, Robert Tonge is simply seen as a disappointment and a failure as Tourism Minister of Dominica.

Carlton Dumas:

Continue doing what you're doing Mr Minister. Great job with the city clean up as well.


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