Dominica


Dominica
/dom'euh nee"keuh, deuh min"i keuh/, n.
1. one of the Windward Islands, in the E West Indies.
2. an independent republic comprising this island: a former British colony; gained independence 1978. 83,226; 290 sq. mi. (751 sq. km). Cap.: Roseau.
3. a female given name.

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Dominica

Introduction Dominica -
Background: Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans, due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. France ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763, which made the island a colony in 1805. In 1980, two years after independence, Dominica's fortunes improved when a corrupt and tyrannical administration was replaced by that of Mary Eugenia CHARLES, the first female prime minister in the Caribbean, who remained in office for 15 years. Geography Dominica
Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 15 25 N, 61 20 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 754 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 754 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly more than four times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 148 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM territorial sea: 12 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Climate: tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds; heavy rainfall
Terrain: rugged mountains of volcanic origin
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m highest point: Morne Diablatins 1,447 m
Natural resources: timber, hydropower, arable land
Land use: arable land: 4% permanent crops: 16% other: 80% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months Environment - current issues: NA Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: known as "The Nature Island of the Caribbean" due to its spectacular, lush, and varied flora and fauna, which are protected by an extensive natural park system; the most mountainous of the Lesser Antilles, its volcanic peaks are cones of lava craters and include Boiling Lake, the second-largest, thermally active lake in the world People Dominica -
Population: 70,158 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 28.3% (male 10,052; female 9,800) 15-64 years: 63.8% (male 23,011; female 21,782) 65 years and over: 7.9% (male 2,245; female 3,268) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.81% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 17.3 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 7.11 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: -18.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/ female total population: 1.01 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 15.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.86 years female: 76.88 years (2002 est.) male: 70.98 years
Total fertility rate: 2.01 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Dominican(s) adjective: Dominican
Ethnic groups: black, mixed black and European, European, Syrian, Carib Amerindian
Religions: Roman Catholic 77%, Protestant 15% (Methodist 5%, Pentecostal 3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3%, Baptist 2%, other 2%), none 2%, other 6%
Languages: English (official), French patois
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school total population: 94% male: 94% female: 94% (1970 est.) Government Dominica -
Country name: conventional long form: Commonwealth of Dominica conventional short form: Dominica
Government type: parliamentary democracy; republic within the Commonwealth
Capital: Roseau Administrative divisions: 10 parishes; Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Luke, Saint Mark, Saint Patrick, Saint Paul, Saint Peter
Independence: 3 November 1978 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 3 November (1978)
Constitution: 3 November 1978
Legal system: based on English common law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Vernon Lordon SHAW (since 6 October 1998) elections: president elected by the House of Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 6 October 1998 (next to be held NA October 2003); prime minister appointed by the president election results: Vernon Lordon SHAW elected president; percent of legislative vote - NA% cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister head of government: Prime Minister Pierre CHARLES (since 1 October 2000); note - assumed post after death of Prime Minister Roosevelt DOUGLAS
Legislative branch: unicameral House of Assembly (30 seats, 9 appointed senators, 21 elected by popular vote; members serve five-year terms) elections: last held 31 January 2000 (next to be held by NA 2005) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party -DLP 10, UWP 9, DFP 2
Judicial branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, consisting of the Court of Appeal and the High Court (located in Saint Lucia; one of the six judges must reside in Dominica and preside over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction) Political parties and leaders: Dominica Freedom Party or DFP [Charles SAVARIN]; Dominica Labor Party or DLP [Pierre CHARLES]; United Workers Party or UWP [Edison JAMES] Political pressure groups and Dominica Liberation Movement or DLM
leaders: (a small leftist party) International organization ACCT, ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC,
participation: FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, NAM (observer), OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Nicholas J. O. LIVERPOOL (resident in Dominica) chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016 telephone: [1] (202) 364-6781 consulate(s) general: New York FAX: [1] (202) 364-6791 Diplomatic representation from the the US does not have an embassy in
US: Dominica; US interests are served by the embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados
Flag description: green, with a centered cross of three equal bands - the vertical part is yellow (hoist side), black, and white and the horizontal part is yellow (top), black, and white; superimposed in the center of the cross is a red disk bearing a sisserou parrot encircled by 10 green, five-pointed stars edged in yellow; the 10 stars represent the 10 administrative divisions (parishes) Economy Dominica
Economy - overview: The Dominican economy depends on agriculture, primarily bananas, and remains highly vulnerable to climatic conditions. Hurricane Luis devastated the country's banana crop in 1995 after tropical storms wiped out a quarter of the 1994 crop. The subsequent recovery has been fueled by increases in construction, soap production, and tourist arrivals. Development of the tourism industry remains difficult however, because of the rugged coastline, lack of beaches, and the absence of an international airport. Economic growth is sluggish, and unemployment is greater than 20%. The government has been attempting to develop an offshore financial sector in order to diversify the island's production base.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $262 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -3.2% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $3,700 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 18% industry: 23% services: 59% (2001 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 25,000 Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 40%, industry and commerce 32%, services 28%
Unemployment rate: 23% (2000 est.)
Budget: revenues: $72 million expenditures: $79.9 million, including capital expenditures of $11.5 million (FY97/98)
Industries: soap, coconut oil, tourism, copra, furniture, cement blocks, shoes Industrial production growth rate: -10% (1997 est.) Electricity - production: 67 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 47.76% hydro: 52.24% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 62.31 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: bananas, citrus, mangoes, root crops, coconuts, cocoa; forest and fishery potential not exploited
Exports: $49 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: bananas, soap, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, oranges
Exports - partners: Caricom countries 47%, UK 36%, US 7% (1996 est.)
Imports: $132 million (c.i.f., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, food, chemicals
Imports - partners: US 41%, Caricom countries 25%, UK 13%, Netherlands, Canada (1996 est.)
Debt - external: $150 million (2000) Economic aid - recipient: $24.4 million (1995)
Currency: East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Currency code: XCD
Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars per US dollar - 2.7000 (fixed rate since 1976)
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June Communications Dominica - Telephones - main lines in use: 19,000 (1996) Telephones - mobile cellular: 461 (1996)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA domestic: fully automatic network international: microwave radio relay and SHF radiotelephone links to Martinique and Guadeloupe; VHF and UHF radiotelephone links to Saint Lucia Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 10, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 46,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 0 (however, there is one cable television company) (1997)
Televisions: 6,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .dm Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 16 (2000)
Internet users: 2,000 (2000) Transportation Dominica - Railways: 0 km Highways: total: 780 km paved: 390 km unpaved: 390 km (2001) Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Portsmouth, Roseau
Merchant marine: none (2002 est.) Airports: 2 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2001) Military Dominica -
Military branches: Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (including Special Service Unit, Coast Guard) Military expenditures - dollar $NA
figure: Military expenditures - percent of NA%
GDP: Transnational Issues Dominica - Disputes - international: none
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; minor cannabis producer; banking industry is vulnerable to money laundering

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officially Commonwealth of Dominica

Island republic of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Area: 285 sq mi (739 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 71,700. Capital: Roseau. The majority of the people are of African or mixed African and European descent. Languages: English (official), French patois. Religion: mainly Roman Catholicism. Currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar. A mountainous island, it is broken midway by a plain drained by the Layou River. It has a warm tropical climate with heavy rainfall. Among the poorest of the Caribbean nations, its main crop is bananas. A developing tourist trade was helped by the establishment in 1975 of Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a unique tropical mountain wilderness, but the country was ravaged by hurricanes in 1979 and 1980. With financial help from Britain, it is trying to protect its coastline. It is a republic with one legislative house; its chief of state is the president, and its head of government is the prime minister. At the time of Christopher Columbus's arrival in 1493, it was inhabited by the Caribs. With its steep coastal cliffs and inaccessible mountains, it was one of the last islands to be explored by Europeans, and the Caribs remained in possession until the 18th century; it was then settled by the French and ultimately taken by Britain in 1783. Subsequent hostilities between the settlers and the native inhabitants resulted in the Caribs' near extinction. Incorporated with the Leeward Islands in 1833 and with the Windward Islands in 1940, it became a member of the West Indies Federation in 1958. Dominica became independent in 1978. See also West Indies.

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▪ 2009

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2008 est.): 72,500
Capital:
Roseau
Chief of state:
President Nicholas Liverpool
Head of government:
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

      Dominica surprised its Caricom colleagues in January 2008 when Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit declared his desire to join the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), a group vigorously promoted by Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez. ALBA's underlying philosophy promoted more government control over the economy and integration among Latin American and Caribbean states, to the exclusion of the U.S., which for more than a decade had backed the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). After Chávez described ALBA as an “anti-imperialist military alliance,” Dominica reassured the U.S. in April that it would not be part of any group that had, as its cardinal principle, hostility to the U.S. Besides Venezuela, ALBA's membership included Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua.

      In the realm of foreign affairs, Dominica and the nearby French department of Guadeloupe agreed in April to jointly undertake development of thermal resources. In June, Prime Minister Skerrit announced that Dominica would abandon its long-standing practice of automatically supporting Japan in its continuing effort to have the ban on commercial whaling lifted.

David Renwick

▪ 2008

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2007 est.): 70,600
Capital:
Roseau
Chief of state:
President Nicholas Liverpool
Head of government:
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

      In January 2007 Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit remarked that the measures implemented under the three-year, $11.6 million IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility were primarily responsible for Dominica's 4% growth rate in 2006. That same month Dominica launched its own Growth and Social Protection Strategy, which provided a framework for achieving poverty reduction and fiscal growth.

      Dominica began exploratory talks in January with Venezuela concerning the building by Caracas of a small $80 million, 1,600 bbl-per-day refinery in the country. The project would be funded under the PetroCaribe oil-assistance program introduced by Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez to help Caribbean territories hard hit by rising oil costs. The opposition United Workers Party insisted, however, that the government did not have a mandate to establish a refinery in Dominica and that such a development would undermine the country's status as a “nature-oriented” tourism destination.

      In March, Energy Minister Reginald Austrie told Domlec, the U.S. majority-owned power company, that it should provide a more efficient service or leave the country. Domlec had been engaged in a long-running dispute with the government over a litany of alleged sins, including excess profits, failure to reduce electricity rates, and resistance to the government's wish to liberalize the electricity sector, in which Domlec was the sole licensed provider.

David Renwick

▪ 2007

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2006 est.): 69,500
Capital:
Roseau
Chief of state:
President Nicholas Liverpool
Head of government:
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

      In June 2006 Dominica decided that it did not wish to pursue what could have been an important landmark case against Switzerland before the International Court of Justice. Dominica, which had instituted proceedings before the ICJ in April, regarded Switzerland's refusal to recognize Roman Lakschin as Dominica's UN representative in Geneva, its specialized agencies, and the World Trade Organization as a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The government did not specify why it had withdrawn the case.

      In July a study and advocacy group in the U.K. called the New Economics Foundation declared Dominica to be one of the five “happiest” countries in the world, on the basis of such factors as lifestyle satisfaction, life expectancy, and the amount of land available to sustain the population. The survey reportedly included 178 countries.

      Dominica in May was admitted as a full member to the Non-Aligned Movement. The IMF commended Dominica in July for policies that had enabled the country to “achieve macroeconomic stability through sustained fiscal consolidation and a collaborative debt-restructuring effort.” According to an August report by the World Bank, the number of people living in poverty in Dominica had fallen from 39% to 33%.

David Renwick

▪ 2006

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2005 est.): 69,000
Capital:
Roseau
Chief of state:
President Nicholas Liverpool
Head of government:
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

      The International Monetary Fund, which under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility had allocated $11.7 million to Dominica over three years, gave the country a thumbs up in March 2005 for its economic recovery program; the IMF rated Dominica's overall performance as very strong.

      Dominica began reaping the benefits of having established diplomatic relations with China in 2004, following its break with Taiwan. China agreed in March to construct a 12,000-seat $12.3 million sports stadium, build roads and schools, and renovate a hospital.

      The Dominica Labour Party (DLP) was returned to office in the general election in May, winning 12 of the 21 elected seats in the parliament. The United Workers Party (UWP), which obtained eight seats, would remain in opposition. One seat went to an independent. DLP leader Roosevelt Skerrit, who was again sworn in as prime minister, also held the portfolios of finance, economic planning, national security, and Caribbean affairs. Former prime minister Eugenia Charles died in September. (See Obituaries.)

      In September universal secondary education was achieved; all pupils leaving primary school were able to be placed in high schools. Prime Minister Skerrit said that the government's next goal for education was to have a university graduate in every home in Dominica.

David Renwick

▪ 2005

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2004 est.): 69,300
Capital:
Roseau
Chief of state:
President Nicholas Liverpool
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Pierre Charles, Osborne Riviere (acting) from January 6, and, from January 8, Roosevelt Skerrit

      Prime Minister Pierre Charles (see Obituaries (Charles, Pierre )), who had led Dominica since 2000, died in January 2004 of an apparent heart attack at the age of 49. Charles was succeeded by Roosevelt Skerrit, who also took over control of the Finance Ministry.

      The IMF came to Dominica's aid in January with a three-year, $11.4 million credit from its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, which was designed, among other things, to help restore economic growth and preserve the public-sector investment program.

      In March, Prime Minister Skerrit made clear that his administration “would not tolerate” ministerial corruption and that any minister caught in any “wrongdoing” would be dismissed “on the spot.” After years of Dominica's fidelity to Taiwan under previous prime ministers, Skerrit did an about-face in March and recognized China instead. Beijing promptly announced a $112 million aid program for Dominica. The opposition United Workers Party condemned the change in policy.

      Dominica also broke ranks with its fellow Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) countries in September and called for “full engagement” with the interim regime in Haiti. Most Caricom states had distanced themselves from Haiti following what they saw as the U.S.-inspired forcible removal from office of Haitian Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February.

David Renwick

▪ 2004

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2003 est.): 69,700
Capital:
Roseau
Chief of state:
Presidents Vernon Shaw and, from October 2, Nicholas Liverpool
Head of government:
Prime Minister Pierre Charles

      Dominica exited the controversial offshore-banking business in February 2003 when the last such institution operating in the country, Bank Caribe, was closed. The government then moved against terrorism-related money laundering in April, piloting through the House of Assembly the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism Act, which was designed to cut off such funding and carried jail terms of up to 25 years for offenders.

      A $123.4 million austerity budget was presented in June, with the aim of getting Dominica's shaky public finances back on track. Measures included a 5% pay cut for civil servants, a 10% reduction in travel and other allowances, an increase in the sales tax to 7.5%, and the withdrawal of duty and tax allowances to companies. The fiscal gap would be covered by financial assistance from the European Union, the World Bank, and the Caribbean Development Bank. The International Monetary Fund also extended assistance in the form of a one-year stand-by credit arrangement. Prime Minister Pierre Charles's government committed itself to public-sector reform, which included divestiture of the state's share in the National Commercial Bank.

      In July, Dominica reaffirmed its decision to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, its single largest aid donor, in preference to forging diplomatic ties with China.

David Renwick

▪ 2003

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2002 est.): 71,700
Capital:
Roseau
Chief of state:
President Vernon Shaw
Head of government:
Prime Minister Pierre Charles

      In common with most other Caribbean states, Dominica agreed in March 2002 to improve the transparency of its tax-regulatory systems in order to secure its removal from the list of countries allegedly posing “harmful tax competition” to member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In May Dominica also agreed to liberalize its telecommunications industry to permit competition for the first time. It took the action in concert with other members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.

      A controversial “economic citizenship” program was reinstated in July that essentially allowed foreigners to purchase Dominican citizenship; for example, a family of four could obtain citizenship at a cost of $150,000. The program was revived despite criticism from countries such as Canada, which had imposed visa restrictions on Dominican passport holders on the grounds that the system lent itself to abuse by human traffickers and other criminals.

      Dominica's economic situation deteriorated sharply toward year's end, mainly as a result of low banana production and prices and a decline in tourist arrivals following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S. The government was forced to cut spending by 15% and slap higher fees on fuel and telephone usage, as well as a highly unpopular 4% special tax on nationals who earned the equivalent of more than $3,308 annually.

David Renwick

▪ 2002

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2001 est.): 71,700
Capital:
Roseau
Chief of state:
President Vernon Shaw
Head of government:
Prime Minister Pierre Charles

      Dominica Prime Minister Pierre Charles told the parliament in April 2001 that the preliminary findings of an inquiry into allegations of corruption against the former United Workers Party (UWP) government had shown “clear prima facie evidence” that the UWP had engaged in “illegal and unethical conduct” while in office. Opposition leader Edison James made no immediate response to the statement.

      Acknowledging the uncertain long-term future of the country's main export crop, bananas, the government in May agreed to provide EC$4 million (about $1.4 million) in soft loans to help local farmers rehabilitate or replant their banana holdings. Banana production had fallen by 23.5% in 2000.

      Dominica fell in line with the rest of the Caribbean in June when it stiffened its money-laundering legislation to permit more wide-ranging inspection by the supervisory authority. Despite these efforts, Dominica remained on the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force's list of “uncooperative” countries.

      Dominica came under pressure in July from the International Monetary Fund to tighten government expenditure and find ways to boost revenues. The IMF proposed the introduction of a value-added tax, restraint in wage increases, and a hike in fuel prices; the government categorically rejected the latter measure.

David Renwick

▪ 2001

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2000 est.): 76,300
Capital:
Roseau
Chief of state:
President Vernon Shaw
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Edison James, Roosevelt Douglas from February 7 to October 1, and, from October 1, Pierre Charles

      Although the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) fell short of capturing an overall majority in the Jan. 31, 2000, general election, winning 10 of the 21 seats in the House of Assembly, it was able to form a government by persuading the Dominica Freedom Party, which obtained two seats, to join forces. DLP leader Roosevelt (“Rosie”) Douglas, a veteran politician with a left-wing reputation, became the new prime minister.

      The new administration called a halt in February to the controversial “economic citizenship” program, under which Dominican passports were granted to foreigners—most of them from East Asia and many of whom turned out to be of questionable character—but the practice was reinstituted in April.

      Also in February the government announced that it would conduct preliminary investigations into allegations of corruption and maladministration by the previous regime, headed by the United Workers' Party. On October 1 Prime Minister Douglas, who had vowed to deal with such matters, suffered a fatal heart attack; Communications and Works Minister Pierre Charles became prime minister.

      In July Finance Minister Ambrose George presented an EC$354.2 million 2000–01 budget (EC$1 = U.S. $2.71), EC$121.3 million of which would be devoted to capital development projects.

David Renwick

▪ 2000

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(1999 est.): 77,000
Capital:
Roseau
Chief of state:
President Vernon Shaw
Head of government:
Prime Minister Edison James

      A reduction in the number of cruise ship calls, an important contributor to annual foreign exchange earnings, was averted in April 1999 when Dominica agreed to forgo the charges on water supplied to Carnival Cruise Line vessel arrivals beyond 45 a year. The line had insisted that the cost of cruise visits to Dominica be reduced. Dominica's faltering electricity system received a boost in April when the power company, Dominica Electricity Services, announced it would build a new 20-MW plant to be operational by early 2000.

      In May the Eastern Caribbean Appeal Court upheld the principle of fairness in the conduct of general elections when it supported a Dominica High Court judgment that the alterations to six constituency boundaries recommended by a special commission were unacceptable. The case had been brought by the opposition Dominica Labour Party. The Appeal Court judges were particularly strong in their condemnation of the commission's proposals, describing them as “totally arbitrary.”

      Finance Minister Julius Timothy presented an EC$545.3 million 1999–2000 budget in June (EC$1=U.S. $0.37). The major capital item was EC$75 million toward the long-awaited new airport and related infrastructure at the former Londonderry estate in the northeast, near the existing Melville Hall airport.

David Renwick

▪ 1999

      Area: 750 sq km (290 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 76,400

      Capital: Roseau

      Chief of state: President Crispin Anselm Sorhaindo and, from October 6, Vernon Shaw

      Head of government: Prime Minister Edison James

      The government announced plans in January 1998 to make Dominica the "premier offshore jurisdiction not only in the Caribbean but the world." The offshore sector comprised international business companies, banks, gaming companies, and the economic citizenship program, which allows foreigners to purchase Dominican passports. This program was doing well for the economy, earning some $3 million since 1996. The last-named, in particular, was doing well, having earned at least EC$8.4 million of the EC$10.3 million collected in fees from the sector since 1996 (U.S. $1 = EC$2.70).

      The European Union (EU) moved to help Dominica lessen its dependence on bananas during the year through an allocation of $2.2 million to assist with agricultural diversification. Like the other Windward Islands, Dominica relied heavily on bananas as an export earner, but the crop's future was uncertain owing to continuing challenges to the EU's marketing regime from U.S. and Latin-American growers.

      The 1998-99 budget in July was set at EC$433.9 million and included the introduction of a value-added tax for the first time in Dominica, though the tax had long been used in other Caribbean territories. Because 60% of world trade was likely to become tariff-free during the next 10 years, Dominica would receive much less income from that source, and so the government decided to move away from taxes based on international trade and toward consumption-type taxes on internal transactions.

DAVID RENWICK

▪ 1998

      Area: 750 sq km (290 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 74,400

      Capital: Roseau

      Chief of state: President Crispin Anselm Sorhaindo

      Head of government: Prime Minister Edison James

      Opposition parties in January 1997 strongly objected to the sale of the Dominica Electricity Services Co. (Domlec) to Great Britain's Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), arguing that the purpose of the transaction could not be easily understood, a view with which the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce seemed to agree. After the sale CDC owned 73% of Domlec and said it would invest up to $19 million to increase generation capacity and improve transmission and distribution.

      In April the British government agreed to provide $1 million to fund badly needed work to protect the coastline from erosion. This was in addition to the $5 million from Britain that had already been allotted for development aid.

      Dominica in 1997 became the first Caribbean country to participate in the work of Green Globe, the environmental division of the World Travel and Tourism Council, when it accepted an offer of technical assistance for an environmental management program. The government's aim was to make Dominica a model eco-tourism destination.

      In his 1997-98 budget speech in July, Finance Minister Julius Timothy announced that Dominica's offshore financial sector was to be expanded by the addition of an international ship registry and by incentives to trust and insurance companies to incorporate locally. The fee for registering an international business company was reduced to $90 plus an annual license charge of $150.

DAVID RENWICK

      This article updates Dominica.

▪ 1997

      An island republic within the Commonwealth, Dominica is in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Area: 750 sq km (290 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 73,800. Cap.: Roseau. Monetary unit: Eastern Caribbean dollar, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a par value of EC$2.70 to U.S. $1 (free rate of EC$4.25 = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Crispin Anselm Sorhaindo; prime minister, Edison James.

      The governing United Workers' Party began putting its financial house in order in 1996 by announcing the sale of four state-owned entities—Dominica Electricity Services Ltd., the Agricultural, Industrial and Development Bank, the Dominica Export-Import Agency, and certain facilities at the port of Roseau, the capital. The government's external debt burden in January was EC$320 million and its internal debt EC$80 million.

      In May, after a visit to Dominica by Cuba's foreign minister, Roberto Robaina, the two governments decided to establish diplomatic relations. (DAVID RENWICK)

      This article updates Dominica.

▪ 1996

      An island republic within the Commonwealth, Dominica is in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Area: 750 sq km (290 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 72,100. Cap.: Roseau. Monetary unit: Eastern Caribbean dollar, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a par value of EC$2.70 to U.S. $1 (free rate of EC$4.27 = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Crispin Sorhaindo; prime ministers, Eugenia Charles and, from June 14, Edison James.

      The Dominica Freedom Party's (DFP's) desire for a fourth term in office was frustrated in June 1995 when the Dominica United Workers' Party (UWP) narrowly won the general election, capturing 11 of the 21 parliamentary seats. The DFP and the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) won five seats each.

      The new prime minister was Edison James, a former general manager of the Dominica Banana Growers Association. He pledged to reenergize the crucial banana industry as one of his government's initial priorities. The DFP's defeat was partly attributable to the leadership wrangle that accompanied the departure of its venerable leader, Dame Eugenia Charles, prior to the election.

      In early August the new government presented its first budget, providing for EC$259 million in spending for 1995-96. The emphasis was on fiscal restraint and the creation of surpluses for future investment. The UWP also decided to sell a number of government enterprises in order to raise money for improving the social infrastructure.

      But in August and September the government's development ambitions received a severe setback when Dominica was hit in quick succession by Tropical Storm Iris and Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn. The banana industry was all but devastated, and all export prospects were curtailed for the foreseeable future. Overall, hurricane damage was estimated at EC$150 million. This included the loss of the banana crop plus destruction of bridges, roads, homes, hotels, and public utility installations. (DAVID RENWICK)

      This updates the article Dominica.

▪ 1995

      An island republic within the Commonwealth, Dominica is in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Area: 750 sq km (290 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 72,000. Cap.: Roseau. Monetary unit: Eastern Caribbean dollar, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a par value of EC$2.70 to U.S. $1 (free rate of EC$4.30 = £1 sterling). President in 1994, Crispin Sorhaindo; prime minister, Eugenia Charles.

      An increase in vehicle license fees by the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) government in April caused demonstrations by public transportation operators, which soon developed into disorder in downtown Roseau. The government was forced to impose a state of emergency and a curfew to deal with the situation. The emergency was lifted on May 6, and an agreement was reached that the increases would be scaled back to 35% instead of the 65% originally intended.

      The opposition Dominica Labour Party successfully capitalized on the unrest to promote its own political interests, and its leader, Rosie Douglas, was spokesperson for the taxi and minibus drivers. For her part, Prime Minister Dame Eugenia Charles said that she regarded the disturbances as an attempt to force her from office a year ahead of time. The next general election was not due until 1995.

      The 1994 budget set out policies that the DFP expected would help it win another election victory. Overall spending was set at EC$286.5 million. EC$110.9 million was devoted to capital development, with an emphasis on cruise tourism, which the government believed could provide many jobs. Dominica narrowly escaped being placed on a tourist boycott list by the International Wildlife Coalition—which would have been a major blow to the island's tourism-dependent economy—when it decided in May not to vote against a proposal by the International Whaling Commission to establish a whale sanctuary in Antarctic waters.

      (DAVID RENWICK)

      This updates the article Dominica.

▪ 1994

      An island republic within the Commonwealth, Dominica is in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Area: 750 sq km (290 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 73,900. Cap.: Roseau. Monetary unit: Eastern Caribbean dollar, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a par value of EC$2.70 to U.S. $1 (free rate of EC$4.10 = £1 sterling). Presidents in 1993, Clarence Augustus Seignoret and, from October 25, Crispin Sorhaindo; prime minister, Eugenia Charles.

      Prime Minister Dame Eugenia Charles reaffirmed in May 1993 that the Dominica Freedom Party's (DFP's) policy of selling off state enterprises would stand, regardless of criticism from various quarters. Another controversial government policy, that of selling citizenship to Asian businessmen as a means of encouraging much-needed investment, seemed to be working. A government spokesman said that the "vast majority" of the 466 people who had become Dominican citizens between August 1991 and April 1993 were Taiwanese. It was estimated that this policy had brought some $5.8 million into the economy.

      As elsewhere in the Caribbean, the governing party in Dominica moved in 1993 to make provision for the orderly replacement of an aging leader. In August the external affairs minister, Brian Alleyne, defeated three other candidates to become the new head of the DFP. He would take over from Dame Eugenia when she retired prior to the general election scheduled for May 1995. Dame Eugenia had led the party since its founding in 1968. Also during 1993, former left-wing radical Rosie Douglas consolidated his position as new leader of the opposition Labour Party of Dominica. He inherited the post from his brother, Michael, who died of cancer in 1992. (DAVID RENWICK)

      This updates the article Dominica.

* * *

Introduction
officially  Commonwealth of Dominica,  
Dominica, flag of island nation of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. It lies between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Marie-Galante to the north and Martinique to the south. It has been a member of the Commonwealth since independence in 1978. It is 29 miles (47 kilometres) long, has a maximum breadth of 16 miles, and is 290 square miles (750 square kilometres) in area. The capital and chief port is Roseau.

Physical and human geography

The land
Relief, drainage, and soils
 The island is of volcanic formation, signs of activity including solfataras (volcanic vents) and hot springs. A range of high, forest-clad mountains runs north to south, broken in the centre by a plain drained by the Layou River, which flows to the west; the highest points are Mount Diablotin (4,747 feet [1,447 metres]) and Mount Trois Pitons (4,670 feet [1,424 metres]). In the south, Boiling Lake lies 2,300 feet above sea level; its waters are often forced three feet above normal by the pressure of escaping gases. The soil is rich, and the numerous rivers are all unnavigable.

      Dominica has a pleasant climate, particularly during the cool months from December to March. Summer temperatures reach an average high of 90° F (32° C); winter temperatures are not much lower, the average high being anywhere from 84° to 86° F (29° to 30° C). The dry season is from February to May, and the rainy season is from June to October, the most likely period for hurricanes. Rainfall varies, being especially heavy in the mountainous interior. Average annual coastal rainfall varies from about 60 inches (1,500 millimetres) to 145 inches (3,700 millimetres), but in the mountains average rainfall can reach 250 inches (6,350 millimetres).

Plant and animal life
      Dominica is the most heavily forested island of the Lesser Antilles. The forest is the habitat of a considerable variety of birds and animals. Two parrots—the imperial parrot, or sisserou (Amazona imperialis) and the smaller red-necked parrot (Amazona arausiaca)—are found only in Dominica. There are many hummingbirds, of which the blue-headed (Cyanophaia bicolor) is native only to Dominica and the neighbouring island of Martinique. Large frogs, known as crapaud or mountain chicken, are a culinary delicacy.

The people
      The population is mainly of African descent, with some Europeans, Syrians, and Caribs (Carib). Dominica is the only island with a relatively large and distinctive group of Carib Indians, descendants of the people who inhabited the island before European colonization. Most of the remaining Caribs, a small number of whom are pure-blooded, live in the 3,000-acre (1,214-hectare) Carib Reserve. English is the official language, but a French patois is commonly spoken, and the original Carib language is evidenced in a number of place names. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic, but there also are Methodists, Pentecostals, and Seventh-day Adventists. Dominica experienced out-migration throughout the 1970s, a trend that culminated with a massive exodus after Hurricane David in 1979. This trend, however, reversed in the 1980s.

The economy
      Dominica is one of the poorest of the Caribbean nations, its economy dependent upon agriculture, which is intermittently destroyed by hurricanes. Attempts to diversify have had minimal success.

Resources
      Pumice, a volcanic rock used chiefly for building purposes, is the most important commercial mineral. There are also deposits of clay and limestone.

      Agriculture remains the most important sector of the economy, in terms of both employment and contribution to the gross national product. The main crops are bananas, citrus fruits, and coconuts. Bananas account for nearly half of Dominica's export earnings. Cocoa, coffee, and vegetables are also produced. The forests have potential for marketable timber. The fishing industry was devastated by Hurricane David, when nearly all of the island's fishing boats were destroyed. Recovery has been slow.

      Most of the main products and exports are derived from the agricultural industry; they include copra, coconut oil, soap, bay oil, and fruit juices. Wood products, including furniture, are produced from local timber. Portsmouth is the main boatbuilding centre. Imports include food, mineral fuels, and manufactured goods. Tourism has been slow to develop because of poor transport and the lack of hotel facilities and good beaches. The island has sought to develop preserves of its unique flora and fauna to attract tourists.

      High rainfall and rugged terrain have impeded road building in Dominica. The first road across the island was not completed until 1956, and it was not until 1984 that a major road rehabilitation project was launched to greatly improve accessibility. The main airport is at Melville Hall, 36 miles from Roseau. A second airport at Canefield, closer to the capital, was opened in 1982. Larger vessels use the deepwater port at Woodbridge Bay near Roseau, but Portsmouth remains the major banana-shipping port.

Administration and social conditions
      Dominica's government is a parliamentary system, with the parliament consisting of the chief executive and the House of Assembly. Most of the House members are elected, but some, usually called senators, may be either elected or appointed. The chief executive is the president, who has the responsibility of appointing the prime minister, an elected member of the parliament with the support of the majority of its members. Terms of office are for five years, and there is universal adult suffrage.

      Primary education is compulsory and free in government-run schools. There are many secondary schools, and a university centre is operated by the University of the West Indies.

Health and welfare
      There are several major hospitals. Local medical needs are handled by health centres throughout the island. Intestinal diseases, diabetes, anemia, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted diseases constitute the major health problems of Dominica.

Cultural life
      Carib material culture remains evident in the production and use of dugout canoes and intricate woven baskets. The Department of Culture has encouraged revival of slavery-era traditions, which had almost died out, including Afro-French dances, drama, music, and costumes. The Botanical Garden, although it has lost its collection of exotic plants, provides an idyllic setting for the island's main sport of cricket.

History
      Before colonization the island was a stronghold of the Carib Indians who had migrated from South America, driving out the earlier Arawak Indians. It was named by Christopher Columbus, who sighted it on Nov. 3, 1493, a Sunday (Latin: dies dominica, “the Lord's day”).

The French and British colonial period
      The first colonists (1632) were French, but, with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aix-la-Chapelle, Treaty of) (1748), Great Britain and France agreed to treat the island as neutral ground and leave it to the Caribs. From this time until 1805, Dominica went back and forth between France and Britain. French planters continued to settle in Dominica until 1759, when the British captured the island. It was formally ceded to Britain in 1763. In 1778, French forces from Martinique captured Dominica. The British recaptured the island in 1783. The French, coming this time from Guadeloupe, again failed to capture the island in 1795. The final French assault on the island was in 1805, and although they burned the capital, Roseau, they were forced to withdraw.

      At first administered as part of the Leeward Islands, in 1771 Dominica was made a separate colony. It was rejoined administratively to the Leewards in 1883 and remained thus until 1940, when it was transferred to the Windwards as a separate colony. In 1958 Dominica joined the West Indies Federation. After the federation was dissolved in 1962, discussions for alternative forms of federation took place. These issues were settled by the West Indies Act of 1967, which gave Dominica the status of association with the United Kingdom. Under the 1967 constitution the island became fully self-governing in internal affairs.

Independence
      On Nov. 3, 1978, Dominica achieved full independence, with Patrick Roland John as its first prime minister. John's government was implicated in a rumoured invasion of Barbados that was to have been launched from Dominica. In the ensuing Cabinet crisis Oliver Seraphine emerged as the new prime minister (May 1979).

      Hurricane David severely damaged the island in August 1979, virtually wiping out the nation's agricultural economy. The hurricane carried away most of the island's topsoil, and it was estimated that it would take 20 years to rebuild what had been destroyed. The economy was set back by Hurricane Allen a year later and in 1989 by Hurricane Hugo.

      The winner of the 1980 elections, Eugenia Charles (Charles, Eugenia), became the Caribbean's first female prime minister. She had initially formed her party, the Dominica Freedom Party, to oppose legislation limiting freedom of the press. More conservative in her approach than either of her predecessors, she moved Dominica toward closer ties with Barbados. Her government faced several coup attempts in 1981, but these were perhaps of less significance than the plight the country faced in attempting to recuperate from the two hurricanes. Under Charles's administration, however, Dominica made marked advances toward recovery, with considerable decreases in unemployment and inflation. Her party was returned to power in 1985 and became more firmly entrenched in the 1986 elections. Dominica joined with other eastern Caribbean states and the United States in the 1983 invasion of Grenada.

David Lawrence Niddrie Janet D. Momsen

Additional Reading
There are few works that treat all the islands of the Lesser Antilles or describe a particular island comprehensively, although a number of broad overviews are listed in the earlier section on the region. An informative geologic survey, covering locations from both the Lesser Antilles and the Netherlands Antilles, is offered in J.H. Westermann and H. Kiel, The Geology of Saba and St. Eustatius, with Notes on the Geology of St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat, Lesser Antilles (1961). Guy Lasserre, La Guadeloupe: Étude géographique, 3 vol. (1978), is a detailed geography. Studies of flora include Clarissa Thérèse Kimber, Martinique Revisited: The Changing Plant Geographies of a West Indian Island (1988); and David Watts, Man's Influence on the Vegetation of Barbados, 1627 to 1800 (1966).The people of Barbados are discussed in Jill Sheppard, The “Redlegs” of Barbados, Their Origins and History (1977), which explores the history of indentured servants; Farley Brathwaite (ed.), The Elderly in Barbados (1986), a survey of social and economic conditions of the elderly; and Graham M.S. Dann (ed.), Everyday in Barbados: A Sociological Perspective (1976), which discusses social structures and recreational activity. Jean Benoist (ed.), L'Archipel inachevé: culture et société aux Antilles françaises (1972), is an anthropological study of the French islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, La Désirade, Marie-Galante, and Saint-Barthélemy. Stuart B. Philpott, West Indian Migration: The Montserrat Case (1973), explores the impact of migration on village population. Bonham C. Richardson, Caribbean Migrants: Environment and Human Survival on St. Kitts and Nevis (1983), focuses on migration as a response to degradation of environment. Karen Fog Olwig, Cultural Adaptation and Resistance on St. John: Three Centuries of Afro-Caribbean Life (1985), examines the society of one of the Virgin Islands.Analyses of economic conditions include Delisle Worrell (ed.), The Economy of Barbados, 1946–1980 (1982), a study of the trends of the major sectors; Bonham C. Richardson, Panama Money in Barbados, 1900–1920 (1985), which discusses the impact of remittances on a wide range of economic activities and social attitudes; Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Peasants and Capital: Dominica in the World Economy (1988), which explores patterns of land ownership and agricultural production; and C. Bourne, E.R. Lefranc, and F. Nunes (compilers), Small Farming in the Less Developed Countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean (1980), which provides information on Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, and Antigua. Studies of individual island-state economies include John S. Brierley, Small Farming in Grenada, West Indies (1974); Deirdre M. Kelly, Hard Work, Hard Choices: A Survey of Women in St. Lucia's Export-Oriented Electronics Factories (1987); and Hymie Rubenstein, Coping With Poverty: Adaptive Strategies in a Caribbean Village (1987).Historical works which concentrate mostly on slavery and plantation life include the following: Vincent T. Harlow, A History of Barbados, 1625–1685 (1926, reprinted 1969), an examination of the period of the early British colonies; Gary A. Puckrein, Little England: Plantation Society and Anglo-Barbadian Politics, 1627–1700 (1984), a revisionist economic history, particularly strong on the creolizing process; Hilary Beckles, Black Rebellion in Barbados: The Struggle Against Slavery, 1627–1838 (1984), a provocative interpretation of slave resistance. Jerome S. Handler, The Unappropriated People: Freedmen in the Slave Society of Barbados (1974), which fills a gap in historiography; Karl Watson, The Civilised Island, Barbados: A Social History, 1750–1816 (1979), a study of the mature slave society; Claude Levy, Emancipation, Sugar, and Federalism: Barbados and the West Indies, 1833–1876 (1980), on postslavery adjustments; Gordon C. Merrill, The Historical Geography of St. Kitts and Nevis, the West Indies (1958), which discusses the colonial period on the islands; Lennox Honychurch, The Dominica Story: A History of the Island, 2nd ed. (1984), a well-illustrated study covering developments up to the 1980s and benefiting from the author's personal involvement in the constitutional changes leading to independence; and George Brizan, Grenada, Island of Conflict: From Amerindians to People's Revolution, 1498–1979 (1984), the work of a Grenadian historian and politician.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • dominica — domínica o dominica (Del lat. dominĭca). 1. f. En lenguaje y estilo eclesiástico, domingo. 2. Textos y lecciones de la Escritura que en el oficio divino corresponden a cada domingo …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • domínica — o dominica (Del lat. dominĭca). 1. f. En lenguaje y estilo eclesiástico, domingo. 2. Textos y lecciones de la Escritura que en el oficio divino corresponden a cada domingo …   Diccionario de la lengua española

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