DOMINICA


 

Also known as: The Nature Island of the Caribbean
Motto: After the Good Lord we Love the Earth

History Dominica was occupied first by the Amerindians. It was sighted and named by Christopher Columbus in 1493. The island changed hands several times in the 18th century, but France ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763 and it finally became a British colony in 1805. It was joined to the Leeward, then the Windward Island, achieved a separate status in 1960, became a British Associate in 1967, and gained independence on November 3, 1978. Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans, due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs.  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. Some 3000 Carib Indians still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean.

Geography  
Location: The most northerly and largest of the Windward Islands situated between Guadeloupe to the north, and Martinique to the south.
Geographic coordinates: 15 25 N, 61 20 W
Area: total: 751 sq km
country comparison to the world: 195
land: 751 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 148 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 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: 6.67%
permanent crops: 21.33%
other: 72% (2005)
Natural hazards: flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months
 
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  
Polpulation: 72,660 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 24% (male 8,910/female 8,518)
15-64 years: 65.8% (male 24,532/female 23,301)
65 years and over: 10.2% (male 3,187/female 4,212) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.208% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 15.73 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 8.2 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate: -5.45 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 74% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
noun: Dominican(s) adjective: Dominican
Ethnic groups: black 86.8%, mixed 8.9%, Carib Amerindian 2.9%, white 0.8%, other 0.7% (2001 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic 61.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 6%, Pentecostal 5.6%, Baptist 4.1%, Methodist 3.7%, Church of God 1.2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.2%, other Christian 7.7%, Rastafarian 1.3%, other or unspecified 1.6%, none 6.1% (2001 census)
Languages: English (official), French patois
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 94%
male: 94%
female: 94% (2003 est.)

Government  
Country Name: conventional long form: Commonwealth of Dominica
conventional short form: Dominica
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Roseau
geographic coordinates: 15 18 N, 61 24 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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 the UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 3 November (1978)
Constitution: 3 November 1978
Legal system: based on English common law; accepts ICJ jurisdiction
Executive branch: chief of state: President Nicholas J. O. LIVERPOOL (since October 2003)

head of government: Prime Minister Roosevelt SKERRIT (since 8 January 2004). Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit  is the 7th Prime Minister of Dominica,  born June 08, 1972. Vielle Case, Dominica) He assumed office January 8, 2004  he holds the ministerial portfolios of Finance, Planning, National Security and Overseas Nationals. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit began his college education at New Mexico State University and transferred to the University of Mississippi, from where he graduated with a BA in English and Psychology. He has forged a close relationship with leftist leaders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, which has resulted in Dominica receiving substantial aid from Cuba and Venezuela.

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

Legislative branch: unicameral House of Assembly (30 seats; 9 members appointed, 21 elected by popular vote; to serve five-year terms)

elections: last held 5 May 2005 (next to be held by 5 August 2010); note - tradition dictates that the election will be held within five years of the last election, but technically it is five years from the first seating of parliament (12 May 2005) plus a 90-day grace period

election results: percent of vote by party - DLP 52.1%, UWP 43.6%, DFP 3.2%, other 1.1%; seats by party - DLP 12, UWP 8, independent 1
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 [Roosevelt SKERRIT]; Dominica United Workers Party or UWP [Earl WILLIAMS]
International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OECS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant);

Charge d'Affaires: Judith Ann ROLLE
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 364-6781
FAX: [1] (202) 364-6791
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Dominica; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Dominica
Date of CARICOM Membership: 1 May 1974
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  
Overview: The Dominican economy depends on agriculture, primarily bananas, and remains highly vulnerable to climatic conditions and international economic developments. Tourism has increased as the government seeks to promote Dominica as an "ecotourism" destination and has developed a new tourism development plan with assistance from the EU. Hurricane Dean struck the island in August 2007 causing damages equivalent to 20% of GDP. In 2003, the government began a comprehensive restructuring of the economy - including elimination of price controls, privatization of the state banana company, and tax increases - to address Dominica's economic and financial crisis of 2001-02 and to meet IMF targets. This restructuring paved the way for the current economic recovery - real growth for 2006 reached a two-decade high - and will help to reduce the debt burden, which remains at about 100% of GDP. In order to diversify the island's production base, the government is attempting to develop an offshore financial sector and has signed an agreement with the EU to develop geothermal energy resources.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $719.6 million (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $364 million (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.6% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $9,900 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 17.7%
industry: 32.8%
services: 49.5% (2004 est.)
Labor force: 25,000 (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 40%
industry: 32%
services: 28% (2000 est.)
Budget: revenues: $73.9 million
expenditures: $84.4 million (2001)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.7% (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: bananas, citrus, mangoes, root crops, coconuts, cocoa; forest and fishery potential not exploited
Industries: soap, coconut oil, tourism, copra, furniture, cement blocks, shoes
Exports: $94 million (2006)
Exports - commodities: bananas, soap, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, oranges
Exports - partners: Japan 29.8%, China 25.2%, Jamaica 6.2%, Antigua and Barbuda 6%, Guyana 5.1%, UK 4.2% (2008)
Imports: $296 million (2006)
Imports - commodities: manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, food, chemicals
Imports - partners: Japan 42.5%, US 16.7%, China 13.6%, Trinidad and Tobago 8.3% (2008)
Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar - 2.7 (2007), 2.7 (2006), 2.7 (2005), 2.7 (2004), 2.7 (2003)
Business Hours: Commercial: 8:00-17:00 hrs Monday to Friday

Government: 8:00-14:00 hrs Monday to Friday

National Holidays: New Year's Day (01 January); Carnival (Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday); Good Friday, Easter Monday; Labor Day (01 May); Whit Monday (50 days after Easter Sunday); August Monday (First Monday in August); Independence Day (03 November); Community Day of Service (04 November); Christmas Day (25 December); Boxing Day (26 December)

Communications  
Telephones: 17,500 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 100,000 (2008)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA
domestic: fully automatic network
international: country code - 1-767; landing point for the East Caribbean Fiber Optic System (ECFS) submarine cable with links to 13 other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad; microwave radio relay and SHF radiotelephone links to Martinique and Guadeloupe; VHF and UHF radiotelephone links to Saint Lucia
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 4, shortwave 0 (2003)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (2004)
Internet country code: .dm
Internet hosts: 29 (2008)
Internet users: 26,500 (2006)
Transportation:  
Airports: 2 (2009) Main Airport: Canefield; Melville Hall
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2009)
Roadways: total: 780 km
country comparison to the world: 188
paved: 393 km
unpaved: 387 km (2000)
Merchant marine: total: 53
country comparison to the world: 69
by type: bulk carrier 14, cargo 27, chemical tanker 3, petroleum tanker 5, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 1, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 47 (Australia 2, Estonia 7, Greece 10, India 2, Latvia 1, Norway 1, Russia 3, Saudi Arabia 2, Singapore 7, Syria 2, Turkey 5, Ukraine 4, UAE 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Portsmouth, Roseau

Military no regular military forces; Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (includes Coast Guard) (2008)
  Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency

Items of Interest  
National Anthem: Isle of Beauty

Isle of beauty, isle of splendor,
Isle of all so sweet and fair,
All must surely gaze in wonder,
At thy gifts so rich and rare,
Rivers, valleys, hills and mountains,
All these gifts we we extol,
Healthy lands so like all fountains,
Giving cheer, that warms the soul.

Dominica God hath blest thee,
With a clime benign and bright,
Pastures green and flowers of beauty,
Filling all with pure delight,
And a people strong and healthy,
Full of Godly reverent fear,
May we ever seek to praise thee,
For these gifts so rich and rare.

Come ye forward, sons and daughters,
Of this Gem beyond compare,
Strive for honor sons and daughters,
Do the right be firm be fair.
Toil with hearts and hands and voices,
We must prosper!  Sound the call,
In which everyone rejoices
"All for Each and Each for All!"

(Words by W.O.M. Pond, Music by L.M. Christian)

Highest National Award: Sisserou Award of Honour
Favourite local Cuisine: Mountain Chicken (Leptodactylus fallax - Frog); Lobster Dominic
Government web page: http://www.dominica.gov.dm/cms/