WHERE IS DOMINICA?
Sitting halfway along the Eastern Caribbean archipelago, Dominica is located just a few miles from Martinique to the south and Guadeloupe to the north. Stretching 751 km² (290 square miles) the island boasts 148 km (91 miles) of coastal line. The official name of Dominica is the Commonwealth of Dominica, which is mostly referenced in official communications and to distinguish the island from the Dominican Republic, its northerly Caribbean sister.
LAND AND CLIMATE
The Commonwealth of Dominica is known as the ‘Nature Island of the Caribbean’ due to its wide variety of flora and fauna and extensive natural park system, boasting a remarkably unspoiled natural beauty.Its emerald green mountain sides cascade down to the mild Caribbean ocean and are speckled with coconut trees, banana plantations and bright tropical flowers. Dominica is home to the world’s second largest thermally active lake, and boasts hot and cold sulphur springs with healing properties. Dominica is home to the Caribbean’s highest peaks, namely Morne Diablotins, which stands at 1,447m high. The climate is tropical and the terrain rugged and much of the island is covered in rainforest. There are many waterfalls and lakes and 365 rivers. Dominica is also a largely popular location for hiking, scuba diving and whale watching.
AIR AND SEA
Dominica has two airports: Melville Hall (DOM) and Canefield (DCF) Airports.
Melville Hall is the larger of the two and most visitors to Dominica will arrive through this airport which accommodates commercial airlines. Canefield Airport, located 15 minutes from the capital city of Roseau, is only 3,100 ft long and is suitable for chartered flights and private jets. Melville Hall which is located in the north-eastern side of the island is approximately one hour from the capital city, Roseau.
International flights from the US and Europe are connected to the island through hubs in Antigua (ANU), Barbados (BGI), St. Maarten (SXM), Puerto Rico (SJU), Guadeloupe (PTP), and Martinique (FDF).
Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive on the island from cruise ships berthed at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth, Woodbridge Bay, and Cabrits Cruise Ship Berth. Captains of yachts and sailboats can also anchor their private yacht at any of the island’s official ports, but they should check in with customs and immigration on arrival.
The currency used in Dominica is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, a common currency issued by The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) to all eight members of the ECCU, which has been pegged to the US Dollar at the rate of USD1= XCD 2.7169 since 1977, providing certainty and stability in exchange transactions.
Dominica’s main exports are agricultural, which include coffee, cocoa, bananas, citrus fruits and tropical fruits. Manufactured products which it exports are rum, timber and soap and tourism remains an important driver of the economy, along with agriculture.
Dominica is populated with 70,000 people, with 20,000 of those inhabiting the capital city Roseau and the other major city being Portsmouth. With a vibrant entwinement of European and African cultures, Dominica is home to the Caribbean’s only remaining population of pre-Columbian Carib Indians. The official language of Dominica is English while the most dominant religion is Roman Catholicism.
LIFE IN DOMINICA
The Dominican Government encourages people to gain an understanding of Dominica, its people and their way of life, before applying for citizenship.
The Commonwealth of Dominica is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person, and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator.
Certain fundamental human rights and freedoms are enshrined in the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Every person in Dominica is entitled to the following rights and freedoms whatever his race, place of origins, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, namely:
- Life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
- Freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association; and
- Protection for the privacy of his home and other property and from deprivation of property without compensation.
Dominican society is also based on the following shared beliefs and values:
- Respect for the principles of social justice;
- Belief that the operation of the economic system should result in so distributing the material resources of the community as subserve the common good, that there should be adequate means of livelihood for all, that labour should not be exploited or forced by economic necessity to operate in inhumane conditions but that there should be opportunity for advancement on the basis of recognition of merit, ability and integrity;
- Belief in a democratic society in which persons may, to the extent of their capacity, play some part in the institutions of the national life and thus develop and maintain due respect for lawfully-constituted authority;
- Recognition that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law.
CARICOM & OTHER INTERNATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS
Dominica is a member of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Commonwealth of Nations. CARICOM is an international organisation which consists of 15 member states all of whom are based in the Caribbean. CARICOM works to promote economic co-operation and integration in the region The secretariat headquarters is based in Georgetown, Guyana.
The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary organisation of 53 countries which share no legal commitment to each other but have a common goal of enhancing the “development of free and democratic societies” and “promoting peace and prosperity to improve the lives of all peoples of the Commonwealth.” (See more at: http://thecommonwealth.org/) There are many benefits to Commonwealth members such as easier travel between Member Countries, protection of all Members by other embassies and commissions around the world and eligibility for certain sporting activities (the Commonwealth Games).
Dominica is also a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Organization of American States (OAS). The country maintains missions in Washington, New York, London, and Brussels and is represented jointly with other Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) members in Canada.