Commonwealth of Dominica
CAPITAL : Roseau
FLAG : On a green background appears a cross composed of yellow, black, and white stripes; in the center is a red disk with 10 yellow-bordered green stars surrounding a parrot.
ANTHEM : Isle of Beauty, Isle of Splendor.
MONETARY UNIT : The East Caribbean dollar ( EC $) of 100 cents is the national currency. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 25, and 1 dollar, and notes of 5, 10, 20, and 100 East Caribbean dollars. EC $1 = US 0.3704 (or US $1 = EC $2.70) as of January 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is being introduced, but imperial measures remain in common use.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; Caricom Day, 2 July; Bank Holiday, 1st Monday in August; National Days, 3–4 November; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Carnival, Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Whitmonday.
TIME : 8 AM = noon GMT.
There are no restrictions on foreign travel, emigration, or repatriation. In 1999 the net migration rate was -24.65 migrants per 1,000 population. The number of migrants living in Dominica in 2000 was 4,000, close to 5% of the total population. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.
English is the official language of Dominica. Nearly all Dominicans also speak a French patois, based on a mixture of African and French grammar and consisting mostly of French words, with some English and Spanish borrowings. Some islanders speak French as their first language.
In contrast to other English-speaking islands in the Caribbean, Dominica has a well-developed local government system. There are 25 village councils, made up of both elected and appointed members. Both Roseau and Portsmouth have town councils. There are also 10 parishes, which are administrative divisions for the national government.
A police force of 300 is in charge of law and order. Dominica, along with Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is a member of the Regional Security System, established in 1985. Defense from foreign attack would come from the US or UK.
Dominica became a member of the UN on 18 December 1978 and belongs to ACCT, ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, 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 and WTrO. Dominica also belongs to the Commonwealth of Nations.
There are about 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of pastureland, comprising 2.7% of the total land area. The island does not produce sufficient meat, poultry, or eggs for local consumption. In 2001 there were an estimated 540 head of cattle, 9,700 goats, 7,600 sheep, and 5,000 hogs. In 2001, production of meat totaled 1,300 tons; and milk, 6,100 tons.
Before Hurricane David, some 2,000 persons earned a living fishing in coastal waters, producing about 1,000 tons of fish a year and meeting only about one-third of the local demand. The hurricane destroyed almost all of the island's 470 fishing boats; afterward, only about a dozen vessels could be reconstructed for use. In 2000, the catch was 1,150 tons, up from 552 tons in 1991.
Dominica's mining sector played a minor role in its economy. Pumice was the major commodity extracted from the island for export, and Dominica produced clay, limestone, volcanic ash, and sand and gravel, primarily for the construction industry.
Late in 1980, Dominica created a Council for Science and Technology, under the Ministry of Education. However, without a budget and a clear directive of purpose, the council had accomplished little by 1986. The Caribbean Agricultural Research Development Institute has been active in more than a half-dozen projects.
Representatives of British, Canadian, and US insurance companies do business in Dominica.
Taxes levied by the Dominican government include a progressive personal income tax ranging from 0% to 40%; a business income tax of 35%; social security taxes; a 3% gross receipts tax on retail sales; and taxes on land transfers and land-value appreciation. There is no capital gains tax except the land-value appreciation tax.
Specific import duties apply to food and ad valorem duties apply to other items. The government levies export duties on principal agricultural products; the charge is heavy on rum and cigarettes but lighter on bananas and coconuts. Under a 1992 Caribbean Community agreement, Dominica eliminated import licensing. Dominica adopted CARICOM's common external tariff, which ranges up to 35%.
A library system of 50,000 volumes maintained by the government includes branches in five of the leading villages; there is also a mobile library unit for rural areas. The Roseau Museum highlights the island's cultural and natural history.
Maria Eugenia Charles (b.1919), cofounder of the Dominica Freedom Party, became prime minister in 1980.
Dominica has no territories or colonies.
Baker, Patrick L. Centring the Periphery: Chaos, Order, and the Ethnohistory of Dominica. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1994.
Health in the Americas, 2002 edition. Washington, D.C.: Pan American Health Organization, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 2002.
Honeychurch, Lennox. The Dominica Story: A History of the Island. London: Macmillan, 1995.
Hulme, Peter. Remnants of Conquest: The Island Caribs and Their Visitors, 1877–1998. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Investing in Dominica. Washington. D.C.: Caribbean/Central American Action, 1986.
Myers, Robert A. Dominica. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio Press, 1987.
Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Peasants and Capital: Dominica in the World Economy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.