Caribbean Community

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Posted by motoman 04/24/2009 @ 10:07

Tags : caribbean community, international organizations, world

News headlines
New Kids on the Block have older, richer and still loyal fans - Los Angeles Times
The band quickly sold out a three-day Caribbean cruise where they'll perform onboard and mingle. The group, which reunited after 14 years for a tour and new album in May 2008, kicked off its summer performance schedule Friday with the concert cruise...
A CARICOM without St Vincent? -
In fact, he's so upset about what he said is discrimination against Vincentian nationals that he's suggesting his country may pull out of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy. Gonsalves, never one to mince words, was frank in his...
CARICOM SG says integration no longer a choice -
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 15, 2009 - Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Edwin Carrington says in the face of the global economic crisis, Caribbean integration is now not a matter of choice, but one of absolute necessity....
Haiti makes progress but international community remains cautious - Xinhua
UNITED NATIONS, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Considerable progress has been made in Haiti since last year when four hurricanes and a spike in oil and food prices sent the impoverished Caribbean nation into a tailspin, the United Nations envoy said here on...
CARIBBEAN: Rescuers scour ocean seeking survivors from sunken ... - eTaiwan News
Haitian families, some as far away as Washington, DC, were anxious Thursday for word about relatives believed on board, Haitian church and community leaders said. Officials were interviewing five of the survivors, said Jorge Roig, the Port Everglades...
Ambassador Ron Kirk Leads President Obama's Trade Agenda - New America Media
ARK: "We have the responsibility for monitoring all of our existing trade agreements like NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), the CARICOM (the Caribbean Community) and the Caribbean Basin Initiative--all our bilateral investment treaties that...
Caribbean police chiefs meet in Guyana to chart course forward - Caribbean Net News
GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Several Commissioners of Police (CoP) from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are meeting in Georgetown to look at the way forward in the fight against crime. The 24th Meeting of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police...
Commentary: The Big Three and little CARICOM in the Caribbean - Caribbean Net News
By Sir Ronald Sanders The government of the Dominican Republic (DR) has applied to become a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) and heads of government of the regional organisation will consider the application at their...
Money talks & impact on Caribbean community - New York Daily News
The family budget, educational opportunities and health care support in these hard times are some of the topics that will be discussed May 9 in Brooklyn at "Sustaining the Caribbean American Community During This Economic Crisis," at the annual Carlos...
Community supports Good Samaritan event - Fort Scott Tribune
Fort Scott resident Sharon Campbell was the big winner of the evening, landing a pair of tickets for a five-day Western Caribbean cruise. The cruise was sponsored by Cheney Witt Memorial Chapel, Citizen Bank, NA, City State Bank, Diehl, Banwart,...

Caribbean Community

Flag of the Caribbean Community

Since the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) by the mainly English speaking parts of the Caribbean region CARICOM has become unofficially multilingual in practice with the addition of Dutch-speaking Suriname on 4 July 1995 and Haiti, where French and Haitian Creole are spoken, on 2 July 2002.

In 2001, the heads of government signed a Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas thus clearing the way for the transformation of the idea for a Common Market aspect of CARICOM into instead a Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy. Part of the revised treaty among member states includes the establishment and implementation of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), originally the Caribbean Community and Common Market, was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas which came into effect on 1 August 1973. The first four signatories were Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

CARICOM superseded the 1965–1972 Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), which had been organised to provide a continued economic linkage between the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean following the dissolution of the West Indies Federation which lasted from 3 January 1958 to 31 May 1962.

A Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) was signed by the CARICOM Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community on 5 July 2001 at their Twenty-Second Meeting of the Conference in Nassau, The Bahamas.

It is currently not established what the role of the associate members will be. The observer members are states which engage in at least one of CARICOM's many technical committees.

In March 2004, tensions became strained between member-state Haiti and the rest of the Caribbean Community bloc. Democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide phoned some of the other 14 CARICOM heads of government and stated that that he had been kidnapped by France and the United States and taken out of the country. CARICOM announced that no democratically elected government in CARICOM should have its leader deposed. The 14 other heads of government sought to have Aristide visit Jamaica and share his account of events with them. This move to have Jean-Bertrand Aristide flown from the center of Africa to Jamaica infuriated the interim Prime Minister, Gérard Latortue who then announced he would be taking steps to remove Haiti from CARICOM. The CARICOM heads then announced they would be holding a vote on whether to suspend the recognition of Haiti's non-democratically elected interim Prime Minister, Gérard Latortue before he could vote on Haiti leaving CARICOM. This occurred and Haitian officials became suspended partaking in the councils of CARICOM. This did not stop Gérard Latortue, he announced that he would continue a part of his plan to suspend Haiti from CARICOM. Haiti's membership had been effectively suspended from 29 February 2004 through early June 2006. Following the democratic election of Haitian President René Préval, he gave the opening address at the organisation's Council of Ministers meeting in July.

In July 1999, Anguilla once again became involved with CARICOM when it gained associate membership. Prior to this, Anguilla had briefly been a part of CARICOM (1974-1980) as a constituent of the full member state of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla.

In 2005 the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic proposed for the second time that the government of the Dominican Republic wished to obtain full membership status in CARICOM. However, due to the sheer size of the Dominican Republic's economy and population size in comparison with the current CARICOM states and coupled with the Dominican Republic's checkered history of foreign policy solidarity with the CARICOM states it is unclear whether the CARICOM states will unanimously vote to admit the Dominican Republic as a full member into the organisation. CARICOM has been working at great pains in trying to integrate with Haiti. It has been proposed that CARICOM may deepen ties with the Dominican Republic through the auspice of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) instead, which is an organisation that stops just short of the Single market and economy which underpins CARICOM. Currently, the Dominican Republic has an unratified free trade agreement (from 2001) with CARICOM. It cooperates with CARICOM (since 1992) under an umbrella organisation, CARIFORUM, an economic pact between CARICOM and the Dominican with the EU. The Dominican Republic originally became an Observer of CARICOM in 1982 and in 1991 it had presented CARICOM with a request for full membership.

In 2005, the Netherlands Antilles made an official request for the status of associate membership. It is not certain how the future dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles will affect the current observer status or the requested associate membership status for the island of Sint Maarten, in the future . Curaçao had announced , that it wants to continue deepening ties with the CARICOM bloc.

In 2007, the U.S. Virgin Islands government announced it would begin seeking ties with CARICOM. It is not clear what membership status the USVI would obtain should they join CARICOM. It is possible the USVI would obtain observer status, considering fellow U.S. Caribbean territory Puerto Rico's current observer status.

Under Article 4 the CARICOM organisation breaks its 15 member states into two groups: Less Developed Countries (LDCs) and More Developed Countries (MDCs).

Structures that comprise the overall Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The post of Chairman (Head of CARICOM) is held in rotation by the regional Heads of State (for the republics) and Heads of Government (for the realms) of CARICOM's 15 member states.

CARICOM contains a quasi-Cabinet of the individual Heads of Government. These heads are given specific specialised portfolios of responsibility for overall regional development and integration.

The Community Council: The Council consists of Ministers responsible for Community Affairs and any other Minister designated by the Member States in their absolute discretion. It is one of the principal organs (the other being the Conference of the Heads of Government) and is supported by four other organs and three bodies.

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will act in its "original jurisdiction", as settlement unit for disputes on the functioning of the Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME). Additionally the states of CARICOM voted to supplement original jurisdiction with "appellate jurisdiction" under this the former colonies of the United Kingdom will have effectively replaced the Privy Council in London, United Kingdom with the CCJ. The CCJ is based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The majority of member states however, continue to utilize the Privy Council as their final appellate court and three member states do not use the CCJ for either its original jurisdiction or its appellate jurisdiction because they have either not signed the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (the Bahamas and Haiti) or are a current British colony (Montserrat).

Three countries—Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago—had originally set 5 January 2005 as the date of signing the agreement relating to the (CSME). The ceremony had then been rescheduled to coincide with the 19 February 2005 inauguration of the new CARICOM-headquarters building in Georgetown, Guyana, but this was later postponed after a ruling by the London Privy council caused alarm to several Caribbean countries.

The prospect was that ten of the remaining twelve CARICOM countries would join the CSME by the end of 2005. The Bahamas and Haiti were not expected to be a part of the new economic arrangement at that time. The CARICOM Secretariat maintains frequent contact with another organisation named the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), which represents seven Full members and two Associate members of CARICOM in the Eastern Caribbean. Many of the OECS countries are seeking to maintain themselves as a micro-economic grouping within CARICOM.

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy treaty finally went into effect on 1 January 2006, with Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago as the first full members. On 3 July 2006, the total membership was brought up to twelve when Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines became full members. The British overseas territory of Montserrat is seeking permission from the United Kingdom to become a part of the single market; Haiti will not join the market initially because of its difficult internal political situation; and the Bahamas will not join because of local opposition to a provision that allows skilled workers to move more easily among nations.

On Friday, 7 January 2005, the Republic of Suriname became the first full member state to officially launch the new bloc "CARICOM Passport". The new passports boast having better security and are also machine-readable. The full member states of the Caribbean Community had agreed to establish a common passport in order to make intra-regional and international travel easier for their citizens. The passports are also thought to save additional costs for member states by using a similar cover design, the designs will also follow newly updated international standards on Passport design.

The second state that released the national CARICOM passport was Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: SVG began issuing the new CARICOM passports around April 2005. On 25 October 2005, St. Kitts and Nevis became the third CARICOM member state to bring the CARICOM passport into operation, making good on its promise to launch it before the end of the year and began Issuance of the document to its citizens on 14 November 2005.

Antigua and Barbuda had announced that it would begin using the new CARICOM passport format by the middle of 2005.

St. Lucia has also proposed introducing the common passport in early 2007 and actually introduced it on 16 January 2007.

Trinidad and Tobago had announced that it would begin to issue the new CARICOM passport in June 2006, and then indicated that it would introduce the passport in July 2006 along with Guyana, but only finally introduced the passport on 24 January 2007.

Grenada planned to begin issuing the common passport in mid-2006, but started issuing them on 29 January 2007.

Barbados had planned to switch to the common format by late 2006, but then proposed to introduce it by 31 December 2007. Barbados launched the new common-format passport on 1 October 2007.

The Co-operative Republic of Guyana had also announced that it would begin to use the new CARICOM passport format by the middle of 2005, but the introduction was delayed and the new target date was set to July 2006. However, Guyana eventually officially launched the passport on 13 July 2007.

Belize was expected to introduce the passport by 31 December 2007 after its current stock was depleted,. but ultimately Belize introduced the passport on 17 March 2009. In doing so Belize became the twelfth and last country in the CSM to introduce the passport and its introduction was the reason why Belizeans had been having trouble renewing or obtaining new passports as the Belizean Ministry of Immigration and National Security awaited the arrival of a shipment of the new travel documents.

Currently (as of early 2009) twelve Member States have introduced CARICOM passports. These states are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The CARICOM passport creates awareness that CARICOM nationals are nationals of the Community, as well as a specific country.

The expectation is that all the member states will have introduced the CARICOM passport by 2008 when the stock of their old passports is depleted.

The Bahamas has not launched the machine-readable passport, and intends to launch the e-passport on 5 December 2007.

In the case of Suriname, the Passport is adorned with the national symbols for the Republic of Suriname, as well as the CARICOM insignia on its cover. President of the Republic of Suriname Ronald Venetiaan received the first of these new CARICOM passports.

Antigua and Barbuda's design is to feature the country's Coat of Arms and country name as well as the CARICOM logo.

The passports for Suriname were created by the Canadian Banknote Company Ltd. (CBN) Under a five-year programme with a price tag of US$1.5 million. It is believed other member states of CARICOM will now soon follow with the introduction of their own branded version of the national 'CARICOM' Passport.

During the July 2006 CARICOM Summit, the various leaders reached an agreement on measures to ensure hassle-free movement for visitors to the 2007 Cricket World Cup, as well intelligence sharing and cooperation for the security of the event. People were originally to be able to travel amongst the nine host countries and Dominica between 15 January 2007 and 15 May 2007 using a single CARICOM visa. However, during a meeting in Trinidad and Tobago on 29 December 2006, the Heads of Government decided to push back the creation of the Single Domestic Space to 1 February 2007 in response to representation from tourism ministers and others involved in the tourism industry. A single CARICOM visa had been considered for the Cricket World Cup as far back as March 2005. The (CARICOM) visas were originally to have been issued from 15 August 2006, but that deadline was pushed back to early November 2006 however, that deadline also lapsed. Finally it was announced on 4 December 2006 that the visas were ready and the application process began on 15 December 2006. The visas were issued by three CARICOM states (Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago) outside of the region on the behalf of the 10 countries. Jamaica issued the Common CARICOM Visa at its consulates in Miami, New York and Toronto. Trinidad and Tobago issued the visas at its embassy in New Delhi, India and made special arrangements to open up a facility in Sydney, Australia, attached to its honorary consulate there. Barbados issued the visas at its High Commission in London for a number of countries. These international venues were ready to accept applications by 15 December 2006. Additionally, those in need of visas who were already in CARICOM states could apply directly to the special visa sites there. For countries that have no Caribbean representatives, the CARICOM visa would originally have been issued by the UK, but this was no longer the case and instead the application form were made available for those unable to download it. In addition to the six issuing sites, remote sites had been set up to facilitate persons requiring the visa. These sites were located in Geneva (Jamaican permanent mission to the office of specialized agencies of the UN), Berlin (Jamaican embassy), Brussels (Barbadian embassy), Beijing (Jamaican embassy) and Caracas (Trinidadian embassy). In late January, the Pakistan Cricket Board began lobbying for a satellite visa office to be setup in Pakistan for fans there who were having trouble obtaining the visa from the New Delhi site. The visa cost US$100 and it was expected that most visas would be issued between two to three weeks after application. Applicants first had to satisfy security requirements and other local immigration criteria before being granted the visa, which would only be valid from 1 February to 15 May in 2007. The common CARICOM visa was originally supposed be applicable to the nationals of 46 countries, but was finally made applicable to all nationalities with the following exceptions: citizens of Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and all of the dependent territories, associated states and departments of those countries do not require the visa. Citizens of CARICOM member states (excepting Haiti), associate member states or persons who were in the region and enjoying status as residents, or were on visitors visas, work permits, and student visas were also not be required to obtain the visa By January, the Heads of Government also moved to waive the visa fees for children under age of 12, thus easing the cost for families. Non-accredited diplomats or persons travelling on diplomatic or official passports; cricket teams, officials, media and sponsors and their spouses and children; Cuban nationals and seamen and airline crew entering to join vessels/aircraft were also exempted from payment (but not necessarily from the visa requirement).

Cruise ship passengers not staying more than 24 hours at any of the 10 Caribbean countries were issued with a CARICOM day pass. However, those who were staying on cruise ships, dubbed “floating hotels” for the duration of the games, were required to obtain a visa unless their countries fell within those that are exempted. Visa abolition agreements between some of the ten Caribbean states concerned and countries whose citizens were then required to obtain CARICOM visas during the Cricket World Cup provided for the suspension of the visa-free policy in such cases.

During the 31/2 month period from February to May, the ten Caribbean countries became a “single domestic space” in which travellers only had their passport stamped and had to submit completed entry and departure forms at the first port and country of entry. The entry and departure forms were also standardised for all ten countries. When continuing travel throughout the Single Domestic Space, persons (including those using the common visa) were not required to have their documents processed to clear customs and immigration and did not need to have their passports stamped, but still needed to travel with them. Once passengers arrived at the Immigration Department Desk at the first port of entry, they were provided with a blue CARICOM wristband that identified them for hassle free movement through the single domestic space.

By 1 February 2007 officials in Barbados announced that of 6 000+ CARICOM visas applied for thus far, about 5 000 had already been processed. The Barbados government went on with the announcement saying that the rest of the CARICOM visas would be processed soon. By 5 March 2007, shortly before the start of the Cricket World Cup, over 20,000 CARICOM visas had been issued and by the end of April, at the end of the Cricket World Cup, over 42,000 visas had been issued, with only 1,540 applications being denied, primarily for reasons of human trafficking. When the single domestic space came to an end on 15 May 2007 nearly 45,000 visas had been issued.

In February 2007 the CARICOM Heads of Government agreed to set up a Task Force to recommend a revised CARICOM Special Visa for the future, making any changes necessary from the experiences of the 3 month Single Domestic Space. This Task Force had its first meeting on 25 May in Trinidad and Tobago and reported to the July 2007 Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in Barbados. In addition, a paper will also be presented on the issue of how best to establish a rationalised Single Domestic Space to facilitate hassle-free travel within the region on a permanent basis.

At the 28th CARICOM Heads of Government Conference in Barbados it was agreed to implement a CARICOM travel card that will be issued to every CARICOM national except those on the Community’s watch list. An implementation plan for the document will be put together and submitted to the Heads at the next inter-sessional meeting to be held in September. The card will virtually maintain the ‘single domestic space’ and holders will not need a passport, during inter-community travel. The card will also allow a CARICOM national an automatic six-month stay in any territory within the bloc. It is not expected to affect the security of the member countries, as any holder will be deported if he or she breaks the law. Similar to the "Pass Cards" available in other parts of the world, the new card would be the size of a credit card and will feature facial and fingerprinting biometrics – so upon arrival at an airport, travellers can swipe the card in the machine which will open the barrier allowing them to walk through. In addition to being available to all CARICOM national, the card would be available to expatriates who have legal status in a member country. Their card would be time-bound in a way that is linked exclusively to the time of their legal status. The cost of acquiring the card is to yet be determined, but the country leaders have agreed that the proceeds would go towards offsetting the cost of enhanced security at the ports.

From around the year 2000, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states have placed a new focus and emphasis on establishing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with local and international trading partners. This is practically done in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM).

Note that the on-going negotiations with the EU over an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) involves all the CARICOM Member States (except Montserrat, which is not independent) plus the Dominican Republic grouped under the Caribbean Forum or CARIFORUM sub-grouping of the ACP countries. At the end of these negotiations (begun in 2002 and due to end in 2007) there will be a new Free Trade Agreement that will replace the Lomé system of preferential access to the European market for the ACP from 2008.

13 of the 15 CARICOM countries have signed in 2005 the Petrocaribe, an oil alliance with Venezuela which permits them to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.

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Secretariat of the Caribbean Community

The Secretariat of the Caribbean Community is the principal administrative organ for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and is headed by the Secretary General who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Community.

The Mission Statement of the Secretariat is: To provide dynamic leadership and service in partnership with Community Institutions and groups, toward the attainment of a viable, internationally competitive and sustainable Community, with improved quality of life for all.

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Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community

The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community is the Chief Executive Officer of the Community and the head of its principal administrative organ, the CARICOM Secretariat.

According to both the Original and Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, the Secretary-General is appointed by the Conference of Heads of Government, on the recommendation of the Community Council of Ministers (and previously the Common Market Council in the Original Treaty), for a term not exceeding five years and may be reappointed by the Conference.

The current Secretary-General is Edwin W. Carrington (Trinidad and Tobago) who was appointed in 1992.

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Location of Dominica

The Commonwealth of Dominica, commonly known as Dominica, is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea. To the north/northwest lies Guadeloupe, to the southeast Martinique. Its size is 754 square kilometres (291 sq mi) and the highest point in the country is Morne Diablotins, which has an elevation of 1,447 metres (4,750 ft). The Commonwealth of Dominica has an estimated population of 72,500. The capital is Roseau.

Dominica's name is locally pronounced /ˌdɒmɪˈniːkə/ DOM-i-NEE-kə, but elsewhere /dəˈmɪnɨkə/ də-MIN-i-kə is common.

Dominica has been nicknamed the "Nature Isle of the Caribbean" for its seemingly unspoiled natural beauty. It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity, as evidenced by the world's second-largest boiling lake. The island features lush mountainous rainforests, home of many very rare plant, animal, and bird species. There are xeric areas in some of the western coastal regions, but heavy rainfall can be expected inland. The Sisserou parrot, the island's national bird, is featured on the national flag. Dominica's economy is heavily dependent on both tourism and agriculture.

In the next hundred years after Columbus' landing Dominica remained isolated, and even more Caribs settled there after being driven from surrounding islands as European powers entered the region. France formally ceded possession of Dominica to the United Kingdom in 1763. The United Kingdom then set up a government and made the island a colony in 1805. The emancipation of African slaves occurred throughout the British Empire in 1834, and, in 1838, Dominica became the first British Caribbean colony to have a legislature controlled by blacks. In 1896, the United Kingdom reassumed governmental control of Dominica turning it into a crown colony. Half a century later, from 1958 to 1962, Dominica became a province of the short-lived West Indies Federation. In 1978, Dominica became an independent nation.

In 1635 France claimed Dominica. Shortly thereafter, French missionaries became the first European inhabitants of the island. Carib incursions continued, though, and in 1660, the French and British agreed that both Dominica and St. Vincent should be abandoned. Dominica was officially neutral for the next century, but the attraction of its resources remained; rival expeditions of British and French foresters were harvesting timber by the start of the 18th century.

Largely due to Dominica's position between Martinique and Guadeloupe, France eventually became predominant, and a French settlement was established and grew. As part of the 1763 Treaty of Paris that ended the Seven Years' War, the island became a British possession. In 1778, during the American Revolutionary War, the French mounted a successful invasion with the active cooperation of the population. The 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended the war, returned the island to Britain. French invasions in 1795 and 1805 ended in failure.

In 1763, the British established a legislative assembly, representing only the white population. In 1831, reflecting a liberalization of official British racial attitudes, the Brown Privilege Bill conferred political and social rights on free non-whites. Three Black people were elected to the legislative assembly the following year. Following the abolition of slavery, in 1838 Dominica became the only British Caribbean colony to have a Black-controlled legislature in the 19th century. Most Black legislators were smallholders or merchants who held economic and social views diametrically opposed to the interests of the small, wealthy English planter class. Reacting to a perceived threat, the planters lobbied for more direct British rule.

In 1865, after much agitation and tension, the colonial office replaced the elective assembly with one that had one-half of members who were elected and one-half who were appointed. Planters allied with colonial administrators outmanoeuvred the elected legislators on numerous occasions. In 1871, Dominica became part of the Leeward Island Federation. The power of the Black population progressively eroded. Crown Colony government was re-established in 1896. All political rights for the vast majority of the population were effectively curtailed. Development aid, offered as compensation for disenfranchisement, proved to have a negligible effect.

Following World War I, an upsurge of political consciousness throughout the Caribbean led to the formation of the Representative Government Association. Marshalling public frustration with the lack of a voice in the governing of Dominica, this group won one-third of the popularly elected seats of the legislative assembly in 1924 and one-half in 1936. Shortly thereafter, Dominica was transferred from the Leeward Island Administration and was governed as part of the Windwards until 1958, when it joined the short-lived West Indies Federation.

After the federation dissolved, Dominica became an associated state of the United Kingdom in 1967 and formally took responsibility for its internal affairs. On November 3, 1978, the Commonwealth of Dominica was granted independence by the United Kingdom.

Independence did little to solve problems stemming from centuries of economic underdevelopment, and in mid-1979, political discontent led to the formation of an interim government. It was replaced after the 1980 elections by a government led by the Dominica Freedom Party under Prime Minister Eugenia Charles, the Caribbean's first female prime minister. Chronic economic problems were compounded by the severe impact of hurricanes in 1979 and in 1980.

In 1981 Dominica was threatened with a takeover over by mercenaries.

In 1981, a group of right-wing 'mercenaries' led by Mike Perdue of Houston, and Wolfgang Droege of Toronto, attempted to overthrow the government of Eugenia Charles. The North-America mercenary group was to aid ex-prime minister Patrick John and his Dominica Defense Force in regaining control of the island in exchange for control over the island's future development. The entire plan failed and the ship hired to transport the men of Operation Red Dog never even made it off the dock as the FBI was tipped-off. The self-titled mercenaries lacked any formal military experience and/or training and the majority of the crew had been misled into joining the armed coup by the con-man ringleader Mike Perdue. White supremacist Don Black was also jailed for his part in the attempt, which violated US neutrality laws. Despite the amateurishness of the attempt, most students of the affair believe it could well have toppled the weak and ramshackle Charles government.

By the end of the 1980s, the economy recovered, but weakened again in the 1990s due to a decrease in banana prices.

In the January 2000 elections, the Edison James United Workers Party (UWP) was defeated by the Dominican Labour Party (DLP), led by Roosevelt P. "Rosie" Douglas. Douglas died after only a few months in office and was replaced by Pierre Charles, who died in office in January 2004. Roosevelt Skerrit, also of the DLP, replaced Charles as Prime Minister. Under Prime Minister Skerrit's leadership, the DLP won elections in May 2005 that gave the party 12 seats in the 21-member Parliament to the UWP's 8 seats. An independent candidate affiliated with the DLP won a seat as well. Since that time, the independent candidate joined the government and one UWP member crossed the aisle, making the current total 14 seats for the DLP and 7 for the UWP.

Dominica is an island nation and borderless country in the Caribbean Sea, the northernmost of the Windward Islands. The size of the country is about 289.5 square miles (754 km²). The capital is Roseau.

Dominica is largely covered by rainforest and is home to the world's second-largest boiling lake. Dominica has many waterfalls, springs, and rivers. The Calibishie area in the country's northeast has sandy beaches. Some plants and animals thought to be extinct on surrounding islands can still be found in Dominica's forests. The volcanic nature of the island has attracted scuba divers. The island has several protected areas, including Cabrits National Park. Dominica has 365 rivers.

It is said that when his royal sponsors asked Christopher Columbus to describe this island in the "New World", he crumpled a piece of parchment roughly and threw it on the table. This, Columbus explained, is what Dominica looks like—completely covered with mountains with nary a flat spot.

Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a tropical forest blended with scenic volcanic features. It was recognized as a World Heritage Site on April 4, 1995, a distinction it shares with four other Caribbean islands.

The Commonwealth of Dominica is engaged in a long-running dispute with Venezuela over Venezuela's territorial claims to the sea surrounding Isla Aves (literally Bird Island, but in fact called Bird Rock by Dominica authorities), a tiny islet located 140 miles (224 km) west of the island of Dominica.

There are two primary population centers: Roseau and Portsmouth.

Dominica possesses the most pristine wilderness in the Caribbean. Originally, it was protected by sheer mountains which led the European powers to build ports and agricultural settlements on other islands. More recently, the citizens of this island have sought to preserve its spectacular natural beauty by discouraging the type of high-impact tourism which has damaged nature in most of the Caribbean.

Visitors can find large tropical forests, including one which is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites, hundreds of streams, coastlines and coral reefs.

The Sisserou parrot is Dominica's national bird and is indigenous to its mountain forests.

The Caribbean Sea offshore of the island of Dominica is home to many cetaceans. Most notably a group of sperm whales live in this area year round. Other cetaceans commonly seen in the area include spinner dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. Less commonly seen animals include killer whales, false killer whales, pygmy sperm whales, dwarf sperm whales, Risso's dolphins, common dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, humpback whales and Bryde's whales. This makes Dominica a destination for tourists interested in whale-watching.

Dominica is especially vulnerable to hurricanes as the island is located in what is referred to as the hurricane region. In 1979, Dominica was hit directly by category 5 Hurricane David, causing widespread and extreme damage. On August 17, 2007, Hurricane Dean, a category 1 at the time, hit the island. A mother and her seven-year-old son died when a landslide caused by the heavy rains fell onto their house. In another incident two people were injured when a tree fell on their house. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit estimated that 100 to 125 homes were damaged, and that the agriculture sector was extensively damaged, in particular the banana crop.

In Latin, its name means "Sunday", which was the day on which it was spotted by Christopher Columbus. Its pre-Columbian name was "Wai'tu kubuli", which means "Tall is her body". The indigenous people of the island, the Caribs, have a territory similar to the Indian reserves of North America. The official language is English in consequence of its history as a British colony, territory, and state, though a French creole is spoken by many, especially people of older generations. The demonym or adjective is "Dominican" in English, same as that for the Dominican Republic, but unlike the Dominican Republic, in which the stress is on the first "i", the stress is on the second "i".

Dominica is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations. Unlike the majority of countries in the Caribbean, the Commonwealth of Dominica is one of the region's few republics. The president is the head of state, while executive power rests with the cabinet, headed by the prime minister. The unicameral parliament consists of the thirty-member House of Assembly, which consists of twenty-one directly elected members and nine senators, who may either be appointed by the president or elected by the other members of the House of Assembly.

Unlike other former British colonies in the region, Dominica was never a Commonwealth realm, instead becoming a republic on independence. Dominica is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Dominica is also a member of the International Criminal Court with a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the U.S. military, as covered under Article 98. In January 2008 Dominica joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas.

In 2008, Dominica had one of the lowest per capita gross domestic product (GDP) rates of Eastern Caribbean states. The country nearly had a financial crisis in 2003 and 2004, but Dominica's economy grew by 3.5% in 2005 and 4.0% in 2006, following a decade of poor performance. Growth in 2006 was attributed to gains in tourism, construction, offshore and other services, and some sub-sectors of the banana industry. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently praised the Government of Dominica for its successful macroeconomic reforms. The IMF also pointed out remaining challenges, including the need for further reductions in public debt, increased financial sector regulation, and market diversification.

Bananas and other agriculture dominate Dominica's economy, and nearly one-third of the labor force works in agriculture. This sector, however, is highly vulnerable to weather conditions and to external events affecting commodity prices. In 2007, Hurricane Dean caused significant damage to the agricultural sector as well as the country's infrastructure, especially roads. In response to reduced European Union (EU) banana trade preferences, the government has diversified the agricultural sector by promoting the production of coffee, patchouli, aloe vera, cut flowers, and exotic fruits such as mango, guava, and papaya. Dominica has also had some success in increasing its manufactured exports, primarily soap.

Dominica is mostly volcanic and has few beaches; therefore, tourism has developed more slowly than on neighboring islands. Nevertheless, Dominica's mountains, rainforests, freshwater lakes, hot springs, waterfalls, and diving spots make it an attractive eco-tourism destination. Cruise ship stopovers have increased following the development of modern docking and waterfront facilities in Roseau, the capital. Out of 22 Caribbean islands tracked, Dominica had the fewest visitors in 2008 (55,800 or 0.3% of the total). This was about half as many as visited Haiti.

Dominica's currency is the East Caribbean Dollar.

Dominica is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative that grants duty-free entry into the United States for many goods. Dominica also belongs to the predominantly English-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Dominica offers tax-free status to companies locating from abroad. It is not known how many companies benefit from the tax-free status because of the strict confidentiality the government enforces, although it is known many Internet businesses utilize Dominica for this reason.

There are two small airports on the island. The primary airport, Melville Hall Airport (DOM), is on the northeast coast and is about a 45-minute drive from Portsmouth. The second is Canefield Airport (DCF), about 15 minutes from Roseau on the southwest coast. Neither airport is suitable for commercial jets due to runway length, lack of runway lights, and lack of instrument landing system, but Melville Hall currently has regular service by American Eagle and LIAT using twin turboprop aircraft like the De Havilland Dash 8. A runway extension and service upgrade project began at Melville Hall around 2006 and is still in progress as of early 2009.

There is no major highway on the island. Before the road was built between Portsmouth and Roseau, people had to take boats, which took several hours. Now, it takes about one hour to drive from Portsmouth to Roseau. Minibus services form the major public transport system.

There is a significant Mixed minority along with Indo-Caribbean or East Indian groups, a small European origin minority (descendants of French, British, and Irish colonists) and there are small numbers of Lebanese, Syrians and Asians. Dominica is also the only Eastern Caribbean island that still has a population of pre-Columbian native Caribs, who were exterminated or driven from neighbouring islands. There are only about 3,000 Caribs remaining. They live in eight villages on the east coast of Dominica. This special Carib Territory was granted by the British Crown in 1903. There are also about 1,000 medical students from the United States and Canada who study at the Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth.

The population growth rate of Dominica is very low, due primarily to emigration to other countries. In the early 21st Century, emigrant numbers for the most popular countries are as follows: the United Kingdom (6739), the United States (8560), France (394), and Canada (605).

It has recently been noted that Dominica has a relatively large number of centenarians. As of March 2007, there are 22 centenarians out of the island's almost 70,000 inhabitants—three times the average incidence of centenarianism in developed countries. The reasons for this are the subject of current research being undertaken at Ross University School of Medicine.

About 80% of the population is Roman Catholic, though in recent years a number of Protestant churches have been established. There is also a small but growing Muslim community in Dominica as the nation's first mosque is currently being built.

English is the official language of Dominica and is universally spoken and understood. However, because of historic French occupation during different times in history, and the island's location between the two French-speaking departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe, Antillean Creole Patois, a French-based creole dialect, is spoken by many people on the island, especially from the older generation. Because of the decline in its usage by the younger generation, initiatives have been set up in an effort to increase usage and save this unique part of the nation's history and culture. The dialect of Dominica also includes Cocoy, along with Creole—French-based patois. Cocoy, or Kockoy, is a mix of Leeward Island English-Creole and Dominican Creole. It is mainly spoken in the north-eastern villages of Marigot and Wesley.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the Rose's Company, which produced Rose's lime juice, saw demand for its product outgrow its ability supply the product from Montserrat. Their response to the situation was to buy land on Dominica and encourage Montserrat farm laborers to relocate. As a result there came to be two linguistic communities in Dominica. Over time there has been much intermarrying but there are still traces of difference in origin.

Dominica is home to a wide range of people. Although it was historically occupied by several native tribes, the Arawaks and Kalinago Carib tribes remained by the time European settlers reached the island. 'Massacre' is a name of a river dedicated to the murders of the Native villagers by French and British settlers, because the river ran red with blood for days. Each (French and British) claimed the island and imported slaves from Africa. The remaining Caribs now live on a 3,700-acre (15 km2) territory on the east coast of the island. They elect their own chief. This mix of cultures is important to Dominica.

Music and dance are important facets of Dominica's culture. The annual independence celebrations show an outburst of traditional song and dance preceded since 1997 by weeks of Creole expressions such as "Creole in the Park" and the "World Creole Music Festival". Dominica gained prominence on the international music stage when in 1973, Gordon Henderson founded the group Exile One and an original musical genre which he coined "Cadence-lypso" which paved the way for modern Creole music.

The 11th annual World Creole Music Festival was the first activity held there since its completion on October 27, 2007, part of the island's celebration of independence from Great Britain on November 3. A year-long reunion celebration began in January 2008 marking 30 years of independence.

Dominica is often seen as a society that is migrating from collectivism to that of individualism. The economy is a developing one that previously depended on agriculture. Signs of collectivism are evident in the small towns and villages which are spread across the island.

Dominican cuisine is similar to that of other Caribbean countries. Common main courses comprise of meat (usually chicken, but can be goat, lamb, or beef) covered in sauce. the sauces are either spicy pepper sauces, or concoctions made from local fruit. A huge variety of local fruit, from tamarind to passion fruit, are served on the island, usually in juice or sauce form. Soursop is peeled and eaten raw. Sorrel, a red flower that only blooms around Christmas, is boiled into a bright red drink.

The island has its own state college, formerly named Clifton Dupigny Community College. Some Dominicans get scholarships from the Cuban government to attend universities in Cuba. Others go to the University of the West Indies or to schools in the United Kingdom, the United States, or other countries for higher education. Ross University, a medical school, is located at Portsmouth. The Archbold Tropical Research and Education Center, a biological field station owned by Clemson University, is located at Springfield Estate between Canefield and Pond Cassé. In 2006, another medical school called All Saints University of Medicine opened in temporary facilities in Loubiere, with a permanent campus being constructed in Grand Bay. Currently All Saints is located in Roseau, Dominica. There is also a marine biology school in Mahaut, I.T.M.E (Institute for Tropical Marine Ecology), 15 minutes north of Roseau.

Cricket is a popular sport on the island, and Dominica competes in test cricket as part of the West Indies cricket team. On October 24, 2007, the 8,000-seat Windsor cricket stadium was completed with a donation of EC$33 million (US$17 million, €12 million) from the government of the People's Republic of China.

Dominica has three major newspapers, The Sun, The Times, and The Chronicle. There are two national television stations and a few radio stations, including Q95 FM, the Dominica Broadcasting Corporation, and Kairi FM. Before 2004, there was one telecommunication company called Cable and Wireless. In 2005, Digicel and a UK-based company called Orange started to offer service to the island. There are a number of mobile networks operating on the island.

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Source : Wikipedia