Sunday 22 July, 2018

Dominica is not the Dominican Republic: 10 things about the island

South eastern coast of Dominica, in the Boetica area, before the destruction of Hurricane Maria

South eastern coast of Dominica, in the Boetica area, before the destruction of Hurricane Maria

Social media users have expressed outrage and concern following Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s proposal to waive immigration processes and allow displaced Dominicans to venture to Trinidad over a 6 month period, following the passage of Hurricane Maria.

Dr Rowley, speaking at the post cabinet news conference on Thursday, said it was time Trinidad and Tobago nationals show their generosity and open their homes to their Caribbean neighbours.

While citizens raised issue with the possible influx of Dominicans and what that may mean for T&T’s crime rate, Loop TT sought to provide a breakdown of the country.

Here are 10 things we know about Dominica.

1. Dominica had 13 homicides reported up until July 7, 2017.

Dominica had 10 homicides in 2016 and 2015. With a population then, of 72,000, that gave the homicide rate a record of 22.8 homicides per capita.

2. Dominica had a population of 73,897 as of July 2017 according to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) fact book. This means that hundreds of thousands of Dominican’s won’t flock to Trinidad as has been expressed in the public domain.

3. Dominica is not the same as the Dominican Republic.

Dominica lies in the Windward Islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Dominican Republic is located in the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles. The island is traditionally a Spanish speaking country.

4. Dominicans speak English and some French patois. As of 2001, according to the CIA fact book, Dominica was populated with 86.6% black, 9.1% mixed and 2.9% indigenous people with 1.3% listed as other and 0.2% unspecified.

5. In terms of statistics for HIV/AIDS, Dominica is reporting a total of 444 confirmed cases since the outbreak of the disease in 1987. The figures were revealed in August, 2016, by head of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Unit, Alison Samuel, the Dominica News Online reported. 70 percent of the figures were males with over 90 people in care/accessing care.

6. Not unlike Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica has a wide range of religions. As of 2001, Dominica’s population was predominantly Roman Catholic with 61.4% and Protestant at 28.6% (includes Evangelical 6.7%, Seventh Day Adventist 6.1%, Pentecostal 5.6%, Baptist 4.1%, Methodist 3.7%, Church of God 1.2%, other 1.2%), Rastafarian 1.3%, Jehovah's Witness 1.2%, other 0.3%, none 6.1%, unspecified 1.1% (2001 est.)

7. Dominica has no military force except for the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force which includes the Coast Guard.

8. Dominica has been listed as a minor transshipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; minor cannabis producer.

9. Dominica's national dish is the mountain chicken, which are the legs of a frog called the Giant Ditch Frog, which is native to Dominica and Montserrat. Found at higher elevations, it's a protected species and can only be caught during a limited hunting period.

10. Dominica was known for its lush greenry, rainforests and waterfalls. The island depended heavily on Agriculture and Tourism however, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in a CNN interview, said the island’s agricultural sector was 100% destroyed while its tourism was 95% destroyed.

In 2015, Dominica faced Tropical Storm Erika which saw 30 people dead and was said to be the deadliest storm to hit the island since Hurricane David in 1979

Those wishing to donate relief items to Dominica can call the ODPM or the National Security Ministry.