Cuffy said, “Right now there is a hate/love relationship with the rivers, so we are trying to sensitize our people to love our rivers.” Hurricane Maria had a devastating impact on rivers when it hit Dominica on 18th September 2017, but he hopes the dredging now taking place will auger well for the rivers.
However, Cuffy says the rehabilitation or reintroduction of life into the rivers, including the “veo”, is of equal importance. He stated that “In fact, we had planned a Veo Festival in Morne Jaune, but Tropical Storm Erika affected that, and since then it hasn’t happened”. He echoed the sentiments of Pope Francis who said taking care of ‘our common home, the earth, is our responsibility.’ He added, “For us, as Catholics, and as Christians, it is very important to take care of our common home”.
He is not completely satisfied with the state of Dominica’s rivers, but the situation is not as bad as in some other countries. He noted that “We are not at the stage of Trinidad for example, where 65% of their water is polluted, but if you are not careful, we can get to that stage”.
He also said without water, Dominica’s tourism product will be affected.
“So I wish the tourism department would place more emphasis on our rivers. So maybe this year, with a new minister for the environment and climate change, I hope we can have a big event in Roseau. That is something we are looking forward to.” He put out an appeal for sponsors in the observance of World Rivers Day.