About Dominica

  1. 1
    Geography

    Dominica lies in the center of the Caribbean chain of islands, between the French overseas territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique. It is a rugged island noted for its mountains, rivers and waterfalls. It, more than any other island in the Caribbean, has managed to retain its natural beauty. Dominica is home to the second largest boiling lake in the world.

    With an area of 298 square miles (751 sq km), it is the fourth largest island in the English speaking Caribbean. At its longest, it is twenty-nine (29) miles and at its widest, it is sixteen (16) miles. It has a population of 71,727 (2000 census) peopled mainly of African descent. There is also an increasing white and Chinese population. Dominica is also home to the last Carib Indian population in the Caribbean.

    There are two urban centers in Dominica – the capital of Roseau and the second town of Portsmouth. Roseau is the administrative and commercial center and has a population of 20,000 people. Portsmouth which is much more scenic has a population of 5 000 people. About one thousand (1,000) of these are students and staff (mostly Americans) of Ross University School of Medicine, an offshore medical school.

  2. 2
    History

    Carib_Baskets-150x150Dominica was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 but most of its early colonial history was spent changing hands between the French and the English. Although the French finally lost control to the English in 1776, their influence is still strong, principally through the French Creole language which most islanders speak, the dominance of the Roman Catholic church and numerous place names. Dominica became independent in 1978 and is a member of the British Commonwealth. It is also a member of the United Nations, Organisation of American States (OAS), the Caribbean Community and a number of other regional and international organisations.

     

  3. 3
    Political System

    Dominica is a democratic country which has enjoyed universal adult sufferage since the 1950’s. It follows the Westminster model of Government. Elections are held every five years to elect twenty-one (21) members of Parliament. Nine (9) senators are then appointed and together they sit in a unicameral legislature. The Head of State is a President who is elected by Parliament and holds office for a term of five years. His role is essentially ceremonial. The current Prime Minister is the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit who has been in office since 2004 and the President is His Excellency Charles Savarin.

    There are (two) 2 main political parties in Dominica. They are the United Workers Party and the Dominica Labour Party. The Labour party is the present government.

  4. 4
    The Judicial System

    Dominica enjoys an independent judiciary with its highest court being the Caribbean Court of Justice. At the lowest rung of the judiciary is the Magistrate Court which deals with minor civil and criminal matters. Then there is the High Court which handles serious civil and criminal cases. Appeals from both the High Court and the Magistrate Court go to the Court of Appeal. Dominica shares a Court of Appeal with other members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. That court is a circuit court which sits in each island two or three times a year. Appeals from the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal go to the Caribbean Court of Justice.

    Dominica has an English common law legal system and most of its statute law is based on United Kingdom precedents. There are about 50 practicing lawyers in Dominica.

  5. 5
    Economy

    Dominica’s economy has traditionally been based on agriculture with bananas being its principal export.

    In recent years tourism has overtaken bananas as Dominica’s largest foreign exchange earner. However agriculture still remains the country’s largest employment sector.

  6. 6
    Telecommunication System

    Dominica has a very modern telecommunication system. Indeed, it holds the position in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the first country in the world to establish a fully digital system. The telecommunications providers are Cable & Wireless (Dominica) Ltd., Digicel and Marpin Telecoms and Broadcasting Ltd. These companies are willing to facilitate the establishment of business, be they internet gaming, data processing operations or otherwise.